1987 RUF CTR ‘Yellowbird’

In 1987 a RUF high-speed sports car, the CTR model, received it certification for normal road use; soon afterwards, on the Nardo Ring in Italy, this astonishing yellow coupe, engineered to be comfortably driveable on normal roads, beat the world record for a production-car top speed when it exceeded 212mph, an astonishing achievement even three decades later. If at first glance it looks deceptively like a 1980s Porsche, it was entirely built by RUF, as bespoke German maker of high-performance 911-based cars founded in 1939 by Alois Ruf Sr. RUF is a recognised carmaker, applying its own numbers to bare Porsche Chassis. Today the firm offers complete RUF cars as well as many Porsche-to-RUF modifications.

The unbelievably fast CTR was soon dubbed ‘Yellowbird’ by motoring journalists. It was a lightweight two-seat coupe based on the Carrera body. Each rear wing was widened by 25mm and numerous welds were applied by hand to increase body stiffness. The rain gutters were removed to increase aerodynamics and reduce road noise; at the front a restyled nose panel contained an oil cooler and the rear wings received ducting for two charge -air intercoolers. The 3.4 litreboxer engine was fitted with a Motronic engine management system and a paid or KKK turbochargers, raising the power output to 496bhp with prodigious torque across a wide rev-band/ The five-speed transmission was given high-ratio gearing for maximum top speed and the suspension was lowered by 40mm; the 17 inch wheels were fitted with Dunlop Denloc tyres developed especially for the car. The ventilated disc braking system was taken from Group C racing cars and, even with an additional roll cage, the whole car ultimately weighed only 1150kg. Performance of the CTR yellowbird was astonishing: 0-124mpg in 11.4 seconds a standing kilometre in 20.9 seconds and an official top speed of 211mph. In April 1987 the American magazine Road & Track organised ‘The Worlds Fastest Cards’ event in Germany at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien tes-track and the yellowbird, driven by former Le Mans winner and journalist Paul Frere and F1 world champion Phil Hill reached 211mph.

This year RUF began building the anniversary model, still Porsche-like at first glance ‘That’s what we like and that’s what our customers like’ says Alois. And its easy to see why.


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