If you’re a kid of the 1980s, one car that fueled your imagination more than any other was the Ruf CTR, a 460hp Porsche Carrera-based supercar that showed all the gods of the supercar pantheon you shouldn’t mess with the garage led by 911 fiend, Alois Ruf. The car, prepared by Ruf with the help of his few fellow co-workers in the small German town of Pfaffenhausen, beat the likes of Ferrari F40, AMG Hammer, and Porsche’s own 959 to become the fastest road-legal car in the world in 1987, with an official top speed of 213 mph. Later came the famous “Faszination Nürburgring” video, which was basically a 15-minute automotive equivalent of an X-rated movie. It showed the very same yellow CTR (hence its ‘Yellowbird’ moniker) driven on the Nordschleife by Stefan Roser in a plain T-shirt and jeans in a mesmerizing act of sideways heroics. By the time the production of these 29 highly advanced cars ended, Ruf had grown to a legendary status that cemented his position among the supercar-building elite.
Exactly 30 years after its first outing, the Yellowbird is apparently back – more advanced, faster, and stronger than ever. As the spy photo taken during a factory tour two weeks before the 2017 Geneva Motor Show reveals, Ruf is bound to take off with something very special on March 7th.
After Ruf SCR 4.2 and Ruf Ultimate projects premiered at the very same event last year (each could be considered the 21st century Yellowbird incarnations in their own right) the company is taking the design of its original ultimate project to new heights. Even if the inconspicuous photo doesn’t reveal much, there are a few things that can be extrapolated from it, and some of it is big news. The design appears to be the most advanced project Ruf Automobile has undertaken to date, even if it has been a certified car manufacturer (as opposed to being merely a tuner) since 1981.
Contrary to the original Yellowbird, and CTR2 and CTR3 that followed it, the new model benefits from a carbon-fiber chassis developed fully in-house. The wheels will sit on a pure competition style pushrod suspension, intruding into the car’s architecture. Behind the firewall sits a 3.6-liter boxer whose roots can be traced to the famous Porsche Mezger block. Expect it to deliver north of 600 hp. Even so, knowing Ruf, don’t count on any kind of AWD or automatic transmission; a 2,645 lbs. 590 hp RWD manual Ruf Ultimate managed a nearly-Yellowbird-equaling 211 mph top speed last year.
The body styling can’t be totally confirmed yet. However, it seems to be more than a coincidence that Ruf’s recent Christmas card featured a CAD drawing of a car closely resembling the original Yellowbird, but showing some smoothed out lines and extended wheel arches, with a “30 years of CTR1” written next to it. Can this be the new Yellowbird we’ve all been waiting for? Whichever way it goes, this 1987-design-cum-2017-technology hybrid will be everything Ruf fans had hoped for, and then some.