There are so many tuners and so little time given to historical research that we tend to dismiss a fettled car with "Oh, another one...". German speed merchant Ruf actually is different: it's actually classified as a manufacturer, not a tuner, it's been in business since 1939, and it began working on Porsche models with a 1963 Porsche 356. Ruf also made an indelible mark with its 1987 CTR Yellowbird, based on the standard Porsche 911 Carrera but then taken to infinity and beyond with lightweight body panels, an RS interior, and a twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter flat-six doling out a claimed 469 horsepower – it was suspected to be much higher – and 408 pound-feet of torque.
The result was that the 2,600-pound coupe that got from standstill to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. More importantly, at an event held on a Volkswagen test track, it ran 211 mph, beating supercars like the Porsche 959 and Lamborghini Countach, then topped that with a 212.5-mph on the Nardo test track. Road & Track called it "The fastest car in the world."
In an episode of Car and Driver Abroad, Jethro Bovington drives that original car on a wide-open airport runway, speaks to Ruf about the car and its accomplishments, then takes its modern successor, the CTR 3, out of the gates for a 200-mph blast on the Autobahn.
You'll find the video just below. As well, Bovington mentions the legendary "Faszination at the Nürburgring" promo video for the Yellowbird, so we've included a clip of that, too. It features Ruf test driver Stefan Roser – wearing no helmet, no gloves and no driving suit – caning the original CTR while threading afternoon 'Ring traffic. It should not be missed.