“It’s a love affair with our own history and with our own car that we created 30 years ago. We’re trying to bring it back in a little bit more modernized way.” So says Alois Ruf Jr., about the fourth-generation Ruf CTR, a car that his company is building as an homage to the famed Ruf Yellow Bird from 1987.
In 1987, the Ruf CTR Yellow Bird was a highly tuned version of the Porsche 911. It made a whopping 469 horsepower, weighed only 2,535 pounds, and could reach 210 mph, making it faster than just about all of the established supercars of the day.
1987 Ruf CTR 'Yellowbird'
The new CTR, now in its fourth generation, is no longer based on a Porsche body. Instead, this car is a Ruf from the ground up, and it features a carbon fiber monocoque, a 700-hp flat-6, and other thoroughly modern mechanicals wrapped in a body that looks very much like that original Yellow Bird.
Ruf brought the 2017 CTR to the Geneva auto show, where it quickly became the hit of the show, and he was able to sell out the planned production run of 30 cars.
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We were taken with the car, and we got the opportunity to sit down with Ruf to delve deeper into what makes his fourth-generation CTR tick. We learned that this tiny manufacturer has big ideas.
2017 Ruf CTR development via Vela Performance
World’s first rear-engine carbon fiber monocoque chassis
Ruf Automobiles is known as a Porsche tuner, but that’s a bit of a misnomer. As Ruf points out, Ruf is registered as a car manufacturer in both Europe and the United States, and its cars have their own chassis numbers. Until now, the practice has been to take a body in white and axles from Porsche and build the rest of the car. A look at the company’s website shows models such as the Ruf Turbo Florio based on the current 911 Targa, the Ruf 3800S based on the Boxster, and the crazy mid-engine CTR3 with 777 hp.
“The bespoke vehicle is something that we are known for, and we have made it out of a base model from Porsche in the past decades,” said Ruf. “Building our own car is built on the experience and the history of our company, and we feel that this can be continued because there is a desire and a demand for this type of vehicle. Because we are not going to exceed 50-60 cars per year, we feel it is something that we can continue on a long-term basis.”
But this small company of 68 employees in Pfaffenhausen, Germany, didn’t quite have the expertise to design and build every component of its own car, so Ruf is turning to subcontractors for some of that work.