Drop-dead gorgeous looks hide a mouthwatering mechanical recipe underneath
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