In 1987 the fastest car in the world didn’t come from Ferrari, Lamborghini or Porsche. Though it looked like a Porsche, RUF’s status as a manufacturer made the original CTR Yellowbird a model in its own right. Capable of 213 miles per hour at Nardo (officially, unofficially it could go even faster), the Yellowbird was an astonishing performer. Far from a one trick pony, the CTR was capable of an 8:05 Nordschleife lap thanks to upgraded suspension, brakes and lightweight aluminum bodywork.
Believe it or not, This is not a Porsche
This is not that car. This is a new sports car built and developed by RUF. Though powered by a RUF tuned variant of the familiar Porsche Mezger engine (producing some 700 HP and 649 lb-ft of torque), this new Yellowbird is completely technically distinct from any current Porsche model and the original CTR. This new car is built around a new Carbon Fiber tub developed in-house by RUF. The bodywork appears to be shared with last year’s RUF-built 911 resto-mods which debuted at Geneva.
It features tubular steel front and rear crash structures with pushrod actuated suspension and center-lug variants of RUF’s traditional Speedline wheels. Like the tub, the bodywork is also fully carbon fiber, which gives the all-new car a curb weight of 2640lbs. Surprisingly, all of these modern lightweight materials make the new car about 100 lbs heavier than the original, which featured a steel structure with aluminum bodywork. And while power is up more than 250 horsepower, the top speed has only increased marginally from 215 mph to 225 mph (still plenty damn fast). The 0-60 sprint is dispatched in 3.5 seconds or about two tenths faster than the 1987 original.
Obviously the numbers do not tell the whole story. The new car’s sophisticated suspension and stiff structure may make this a much more civilized car than its predecessor. It’s really hard to emphasize how far tire and damping technology have come in thirty years, and on balance it does appear that this car was not intended to be the record-smashing monster that its predecessor was.
Like the original, production will be limited to about thirty units (29 original CTRs were made by RUF, though more were converted from customer cars later). RUF is a registered automaker recognized by the NTHSA and EPA, so it is possible that some of these 750,000EUR/~$793,000USD cars will find their way stateside.