Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April 2009 Dream car of the Month - 1987 Ruf CTR "Yellowbird"

Ruf Automobile was founded in 1923 by Alois Ruf Sr. under the name of Auto Ruf. At the time it was a small shop and gas station but eventually evolved into a design and manufacturing company working on touring buses. Ruf's son, Alois Ruf Jr., became very interested in sports cars growing up and in the 1960s he started restoring Porsches out of the garage owned by his father. When Alois Sr. died in 1974, Alois Jr. took control of the company and decided to take it in a different direction. He did away with the garage, gas station and bus company and began working exclusively on Porsche vehicles. In 1975, Ruf introduced their first Ruf tuned Porsches for sale. It wasn't until 1987 though that the world really took notice of Ruf and their amazing CTR "Yellowbird".

Based on the 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2, the CTR was highly modified both mechanically and aerodynamically to acheive incredible levels of performance. The standard Carera 3.2 was taken apart by Ruf and nothing was left untouched. The doors, hood, and rear engine cover were replced with light weight aluminum. The roof's rain gutters were shaved down to reduce drag and the front and rear bumpers were replaced with lighter, more aerodynamic, pieces. In all, Ruf reduced the curb weight a total of 441lbs to a very slim 2579lbs. Inside, sport seats and a full roll cage dominated the scene.

For the engine, Ruf decided to bump up the displacement and add a pair of intercooled turbochargers to up the power. Engine size was increased from 3.2 to 3.4 liters. The results of the engine work was a power output of 469HP/408TQ. At the time the only Porsche transmission able to handle that kind of power was the 4 speed available in the 930. The 5 speed that came in the Carerra 3.2 would not be able to handle the CTR's impressive torque. After deciding that the 4 speed was not good enough, Ruf designed and built their own custom 5 speed transmission for the CTR. Underneath the car, Ruf upgraded the suspension system and added 17" wheels and Brembo brakes.

The result of all this work was a car priced at $223,000 if purchased from Ruf directly (customers also had the option to bring in their 911 Carrera and have Ruf do the conversion) that could hit 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds flat, 100mph in 7.3 seconds and the 1/4 mile in 11.7. The Ruf CTR topped out at an amazing 212mph making it the fastest car in the world at the time.

A total of 29 CTRs were built by Ruf from cars they bought directly from Porsche. The remaining CTRs were built from converted customer cars.

Alois Ruf Jr. and the CTR

Today Ruf continues to be the premier Porsche tuner in the world. They even have status as a manufacturer in Germany because their modifications are so extensive and they use so many of their own designed and built components in their cars. Most of Ruf's success and status is owed to the amazing CTR and the cars that followed it. The CTR "Yellowbird" is the one that put them on the map.

Here is a special bonus video of the CTR in action on the Nurburgring:

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