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.






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  • 26 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        k_m94
        • 2 Years Ago
        It seems that instead of taking a mid engined Cayman and making it more powerful, they took a rear engined 911 and made it mid engined with the CTR3. And MUCH more powerful thanks to turboey goodness. But a ~550hp turbo Cayman by Ruf would be a amazing. Heck, it would be great with a 400hp GT3 engine.
          Drakkon
          • 2 Years Ago
          @k_m94
          But there is something to be said for the small narrow body of a Cayman. That's partly what made Yellowbird so freaking fast. The lack of frontal area. I agree with pearlie. A properly tuned (not hacked!) Cayman would be blistering, tossable and devastatingly cool. You can see this in the American La Mans Series. The GT Carreras have the super-wide RSR fenders and the Challenge class Carreras have the narrow body. The GT cars vanish in the turns, but the Challenge cars hold their own on the long straights. 'punching above your weight' is the phrase that comes to mind.
      POWAAAAA
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, great video from c&d. I'm very impressed, it looks like it should belong on the Drive youtube channel.
      nismokid02
      • 2 Years Ago
      Anyone who has played Gran Turismo knows Ruf ;)
        Jason Alan Sipes
        • 2 Years Ago
        @nismokid02
        CTR2 and other RUFs have also been featured in Forza 4 and the PGR series.
        k_m94
        • 2 Years Ago
        @nismokid02
        Then again, anyone who has played Gran Turismo doesn't know Porsche. As a GT guy, I forgive them for letting me drive a Yellowbird.
        HydraulicDragon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @nismokid02
        Anyone who has played Gran Turismo doesn't know anything, they should be playing Forza.
      ckm
      • 2 Years Ago
      One of those passed me in the middle of nowhere in Nevada. I was going 130 and it just vanished into the distance.... The driver waved as he went past. It was the only car I saw for at least 2 hrs - actually pretty much the only sign of life for 2 hrs...
      SublimeKnight
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was getting nervous as he was explaining what an irreplaceable piece of automotive history the ctr #1 is... while he talked to the camera, not looking at the road.
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      What do they have up their collective sleeve if they are disassembling a VW Amarok pickup truck? Can I get that mid-engine, too? Yellowbird ROCKS! They had one for sale on ebay not long ago. $300K Not bad for a piece of history. It's very rare that a car from a tuner or small manufacturer shakes the industry the way Yellowbird did. At a time when factory efforts like 959 and F40 were tiptoeing around 200mph, they break it and ask for change back. With as complicated as cars are these days, I wonder if someone can do that again and make it stick. The Hennessy Venom is the closest thing that comes to mind. It won't happen but once a generation. If then. Bravo RUF!
      Andre Neves
      • 2 Years Ago
      THAT is driving. These days you have cars like the GT-R which basically do a chunk of the driving for you. You just point it into a turn and it just eats it up and sorts everything out electronically. Where's the fun in that?
        lewazzinaroillus
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        so this^!,..by the way,..for a truly fascinating read 'bout the gtr and all of it's supposed "wondres",...go to the gtr fan boy site,...www.nagtroc.com,...then go to the forums,.."r-35 gtr" then look for the listing 'no love lost" by "davin",..and prepare to have your head blown off!,..you'll be amazed!
          k_m94
          • 2 Years Ago
          @lewazzinaroillus
          you know...putting ellipsis...after every...other...word is no...substitute for...proper capitalization and...punctuation...it makes it...hard to ... read!
      Jason Alan Sipes
      • 2 Years Ago
      For anyone interested the CTR2 is now in Forza Motorsport 4, wicked car.
      Jonathan
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have always loved both of these cars . Now all I need to see is what I've always wanted which is a V8 powered 911 .
        k_m94
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jonathan
        Already done: Ruf RGT8 is a 911 (might even be the new one) powered by a twin turbo V8 making 550hp
      miammt
      • 2 Years Ago
      if they produce a ctr4, it should be based on the 991 instead of the cayman
      racingmaniac
      • 2 Years Ago
      I thought Bovington writes for Evo?
      RWD
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, heard about that vid but never seen it before. Wasn't planning on wasting that much time... but couldn't shut it off. Masterful driving!
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