Electric Sunshine

Also from Issue 176

  • 908/3 Driven on the Street!
  • First RHD 356 Coupe
  • Spec 911. vs. GT3 RS vs. GT3 Cup
  • 2007 911 GT3 RSR on track
  • The Fourth Glöckler
  • Infamous Mulholland 911 Street Racer
  • 170-mph 924 Autobahn Sleeper
  • Market Update: 1999-2007 911s
  • Porsche Icon: 550
  • Project Cayman: An Introduction
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Ruf's Greenster 1
Ruf Greenster 2
Ruf Greenster 3
Ruf Greenster 4
Ruf Greenster 5
Ruf Greenster 6
Ruf Greenster 7

“The 911 cabriolet carries extra weight because of its electrically operated roof,” Ruf says. “The roof takes a lot of power to operate, and excessive power usage isn’t a good idea on an electric car. From a structural point of view, the cabriolet is also wanting — it has the stowage area for the roof, along with the folding metal panel above it that we do not need.” Structural rigidity isn’t a problem after chopping the top, Ruf claims, noting that “Porsche rationalized the 997’s floorpan, incorporating the Cabrio’s stiffening into the coupe body shell.”

Still, the process wasn’t as easy as simply turning on a Sawzall. Porsche produces different rear panel pressings for the Carrera coupe and cabriolet, the better to merge the models’ rear wheel arches into their respective rooflines. As a result, Ruf craftsmen had to hand-fabricate new rear fenders from sheet steel.

“Shaping the compound curves is a very labor-intensive process,” Ruf says, noting that he’s quite proud of the result. The rollover hoop is also hand-built, constructed from tubular chrome-molybdenum steel and welded to the car’s unibody. (Our photo car sports a painted cover on its hoop, but production Green­sters will benefit from a brushed stainless-steel piece, mimicking the bar finish on the original 911 Targa.)

One of the challenges was to avoid the slightly awkward look of the original Targa’s roof panel, which has to be flat in order to fold up for stowage in the luggage compartment. “That is why we decided to make a two-piece, detachable roof system,” explains Ruf. “That way, we can mold the right curvature into the panels to make the car look good when its top is installed. The most recent precedent for such a system is found on the Carrera GT.” Aft of the rollover hoop, a soft plastic rear window is fitted, a modern-day interpretation of the early 911 Targa’s rear window. Like the original, it zips up from the inside.

That, in turn, brings us to the other green car on these pages. The 911 Targa that you see here is part of Ruf’s personal collection, and it’s painted the same Irish Green as the original Frank­furt show car. It was the sixty-seventh Targa built, coming off of the production line in May 1967. At the time, Por­sche offered three Targa models: the four-cylinder 912, this 130-hp 911, and the 160-hp 911S. The car originally belonged to Jürgen Rinow, a Ruf employee who is now retired. Ruf’s restoration department refurbished the car in the late 1980s.

If the Greenster appears longer and wider than its ancestor, that’s because it is. Its roofline is also considerably lower. “I consider the Greenster to be a Speedster with rollover protection,” explains Ruf. “The windscreen is shorter than standard and the glass is custom. My intention was to make the car look as good as possible in every body configuration — roof panels on or off, rear window up or down, side glass up or side glass down.”

Ruf’s electric 911 looks every bit the relative of the 1967 model, a fact that Alois is counting on. “The idea behind the Greenster was to create emotion by combining the aesthetics of the classic 911 Targa with 21st-century technology,” he says. “When the first prospective eRuf customers came to look at the car, they asked for an open version. For them, an eRuf would be a third or fourth car used on weekends and holidays, and a coupe did not appeal. This allowed me to finally indulge in an old idea of mine: recreating the ’67 Targa as an electric car.”

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