Geneva: RUF CTR Yellowbird reboot a box-office hit

Looks like a 911, but it's not a 911. Not a single bit of it.

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Famous as a long-time tuner of Porsche 911s, RUF Automobiles has taken a giant step forward and produced its first model designed and built from scratch. And it looks almost exactly like a Porsche 911…

For those unfamiliar with RUF and possibly slightly confused by the picture above, a little bit of history.

In 1987, RUF launched a highly-modified Porsche 911 called the CTR (Group C Turbo RUF). Starting with a regular 911 Carrera 3.2 model, producing 235hp and weighing 1,350kg, RUF added power and reduced weight – along with a host of aerodynamic improvements – until it ended up with 469hp and 1,150kg. Some quick maths establishes that as more than double the power-to-weight ratio, which transformed the original 911 into an entirely different proposition altogether.

The RUF CTR was lined up against 1980s supercars including the Ferrari F40 and Porsche’s own 959 by an American car magazine, all of which it destroyed on track to be recognised as the fastest car in the world at a speed of 211mph.

The test vehicle was painted in a bright canary yellow, and the magazine nicknamed the car “Yellowbird”. The name stuck, even though the car was available in other colours. The Yellowbird went on to become famous among Porsche enthusiasts and supercar fans alike and the original cars have become classics fetching serious money.

Over the years, RUF has applied a similar principle to stock Porsche 911s to create the CTR2 and CTR3, but now the company has decided to dispense with Porsche donor vehicles altogether and build everything from the ground up. The result of their labours is the all-new RUF CTR 2017, which still looks like a lightly-modified 1987 Porsche 911 but is actually nothing of the sort. RUF CTR Yellowbird 2017 version

What RUF may lack in design imagination, it has certainly made up for in engineering. The new CTR 2017 keeps the original model’s dimensions, but is built from a carbon fibre monocoque (like an F1 or Le Mans racing car) with metal subframes attached to the front and rear. The suspension is also more closely related to a racing car than a production model, and the body panels are all bespoke carbon fibre jobs which just happen to look very much like the original Yellowbird, or even a Porsche 911 3.2 from 1987. The company claims that there are no Porsche parts in the new RUF CTR whatsoever.

The engine is also a completely RUF production, although once again it is heavily inspired by Porsche’s original 911 engine design. The 3.6-litre twin-turbo flat-six unit produces 710hp and 880Nm, which are enormous numbers for any kind of car. But placed into a bodyshell weighing only 1,200kg, the performance should be other-worldly. RUF claims that 0-62mph will take “less than 3.5 seconds” and top speed should be about 225mph.

Production of the new RUF CTR Yellowbird is expected to start in 2018. Only 30 cars are planned, and if the response to the car at Geneva is any indication, all of those will be snapped up in very short order.

Stuart Masson
Stuart Masson
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

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