Drop-dead gor­geous looks hide a mouth­wa­ter­ing me­chan­i­cal recipe un­der­neath

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS - OM/JR

Back in 1987 Ruf launched a car called the CTR. It was based on the Porsche 911, but had been thor­oughly mod­ifed, de­vel­op­ing 469bhp. At the time it was widely be­lieved to be the fastest car in the world, ca­pa­ble of 213mph – in a era when the Porsche 959 topped out at 197mph. You might know this ve­hi­cle bet­ter as the Yel­low­bird.

That was 30 years ago, so, to cel­e­brate the mile­stone, Ruf has brought it back. Only this time it’s not based on a Porsche 911. Un­der­neath sits a be­spoke car­bon tub with unique steel sub­frames front and rear that carry pushrod sus­pen­sion. There’s still a twin-turbo fat-six in the back and, yes, the dry-sumped 3.6-litre is based on Porsche’s tech­nol­ogy, only now it doesn’t de­velop 469bhp, but 700bhp. It drives the rear wheels and rear wheels alone through a six-speed man­ual gear­box. Old school.

And the body­work? That’s car­bon-fbre, too. The CTR 2017 weighs just 1,200kg dry, giv­ing it a power to weight ra­tio of 592bhp/tonne. That’s huge. The rear-wheel drive and man­ual combo means it’s not hero­ically fast of the line (0–62mph in 3.5 sec­onds) but from there on it gets into its stride – 125mph is dusted in nine sec­onds fat, top speed is “over 225mph”.

Peak power ar­rives at 6,750rpm, and there’s 649lb ft of torque from 2,750rpm to 4,500rpm.

The Geneva show car you see here is still a work in progress. Test­ing will con­tinue through 2017, with first cus­tomers tak­ing de­liv­ery in 2018

It’s small, too: just 4.2 me­tres long and 1.8 me­tres wide. In­side, it fea­tures the clas­sic Porsche fve-dial lay­out and feels small, airy and ex­cit­ing. Proper light­weight, min­i­mal­ist stuf. The rear pushrods are on dis­play, the car­bon tub is ex­posed, too, and lurk­ing be­hind those su­per-smooth cen­tre­lock­ing 19-inch rims are car­bon-ce­ramic discs.

“I’ve been plan­ning this car for more than fve years,” com­pany owner Alois Ruf says. “We will only make 30 of them and we al­ready have or­ders for more than half. We’ve been wait­ing for the right point in our his­tory to build our own car, and the 30th an­niver­sary of the CTR Yel­low­bird is that mo­ment.”

Al­though the most fa­mous, the ’87 car wasn’t the only one to wear the CTR badge. A sec­ond in­stall­ment came in 1997 with the equally de­ranged CTR2. Based on the 993, it was avail­able with rear- or four-wheel drive and could out­run the 213mph Jaguar XJ220.

A fully road-le­gal 692bhp CRT2S­port was even en­tered into the ’97 Pikes Peak hill­climb where Steve Bed­dor put it frst in qual­i­fy­ing and sec­ond over­all in the race.

Fast for­ward an­other 10 years and the CTR3 switched from a rear- to a be­spoke mid-en­gined chas­sis (de­signed to im­prove agility, while a longer wheelbase si­mul­ta­ne­ously im­proved sta­bil­ity) wrapped in a Kevlar-car­bon body. The most pow­er­ful CTR to date, it pro­duced a lively 766bhp from its twin-turbo 3.8-litre fat-six, and 708lb ft of torque. A decade on, and Ruf has sidestepped spi­ralling horse­power fgures for a more retro vibe, and who can blame them?

Old 911s are big busi­ness right now – wit­ness the suc­cess of Singer – as are new ones with a more ana­logue feel, like the 911R. Ruf hasn’t had a very high profle re­cently, but this should put the small com­pany from Pfafen­hausen back in the big time.

That’s it, time to sell the house. And the kids. And the dog

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