German carmaker Ruf makes the world’s first monocoque-chassis Porsche ‘911’. Say hello to the 2017 Ruf CTR ‘Yellow Bird’
“When I was a 14-year old, in 1964, a Porsche 901 Prototype flew by me on the German autobahn. My father and I were driving and the car started shaking because of the wind from the 901. And I heard that sound – it gave me shivers, and goosebumps, and they come back again and again, all my life…”
Alois Ruf’s words at the Geneva motor show were of a true enthusiast enamoured by cars. The founder of Ruf Automobile – a renowned boutique manufacturer of Porsche cars starting with body-in-white chassis supplied by Zuffenhausen – was present himself in Switzerland to tell the world about his latest project, which even alongside his V8-engined 911 (Ruf also design, develop and build their own powerplants) surely stands out as one of the most radical 911s ever. And yet it isn’t even a Porsche 911 – Ruf is a make and their cars are registered as Rufs.
We have been waiting for the right point in our history to build our own car
Up until now Ruf has always started with unmarked Porsche chassis but this latest CTR is the first Ruf car totally engineered and designed by Ruf. So, there’s no 911 chassis under there, because this is also the world’s first rear-engined car with a carbon fibre monocoque chassis…
With this novelty the 2017 CTR fittingly commemorates the original 1987 CTR ‘Yellow Bird’. Thirty years ago Ruf launched the legendary CTR with the name standing for Group C Turbo Ruf.
“At that time Porsche was racing with twin-turbo cars but there were no production cars with twin-turbo engines,” said Ruf. “We were inspired, so we said, ‘Let’s build a similar twin-turbo engine like that and put it in a street car’. And so we did.”
With a top speed of 343km/h the Yellow Bird proved faster even than Porsche’s official Group B-developed 959 supercar, and a legend was born.
The 2017 CTR model takes innovation further, with a bespoke Ruf-designed monocoque, carbon fibre skin, and an integrated lightweight roll cage keeping weight down to just 1,200kg, which is equal to a GT3 classification race car.
“The concept for the 2017 CTR is one that I have had in my head for a very long time,” said Ruf. “We have been waiting for the right point in our history to build our own car and the 30th anniversary of the ‘Yellow Bird’ is that moment.”
The engine is a 3.6-litre twin-turbo flat-six also built by Ruf in Pfaffenhausen, developing 522 horsepower at 6,750rpm and 880Nm of torque from 2,750rpm to reach 100km/h from zero in 3.5 seconds and top out at 360km/h. A six-speed manual gearbox sends drive to the rear wheels, and no, you can’t have an automatic even if you ask nicely in a Swabian accent.
After five years of development time, the CTR is ready for production in a limited run of just 30 units, which doesn’t include the prototype Ruf unveiled in Geneva. The cars come with 19-inch centre-locking wheels, carbon ceramic brakes front and rear measuring 380mm and 250mm respectively, and plenty of choice when it comes to personalising the interior with Alcantara, leather, carbon fibre and aluminium.