2017 RUF CTR – Yellowbird Tribute

While RUF is recognized as an independent vehicle manufacturer, its vehicles were always heavy based on Porsches, or they were heavily modified Porsches, depending on your perspective. Now RUF introduced the new CTR at the 2017 Geneva Auto Show. Despite the car’s look, RUF says that it is not a Porsche. Rather, it is an all new, all original, carbon monocoque-based vehicle. While it does significantly resemble the original Yellowbird, according to RUF only the flat-six engine and transmission are Porsche based.
Over at The Drive there is a Porsche worshiping writer named Bradley Brownsport, or something like that, who ruins perfectly good cars when not writing about them. He recently wrote an article on the new 2017 RUF CTR and how he was totally not impressed with it.
He is also totally wrong. Allow me to explain. 

Image Credit: Drew Phillips/Autoblog.com

Its twin-turbo engine makes 710 horsepower. That power is sent to the 19” center-locked rear wheels via a newly-developed six-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s wrap the wheels, 245mm wide in the front and 305 mm in the rear. It may seem old school but it isn’t.
The chassis is equally impressive with double-wishbone control arms in a pushrod configuration for both the front and rear axles. Carbon ceramic brakes (380 mm front, 350 mm rear) are squeezed by multi-piston fixed calipers. The front and rear crash structures are built with lightweight steel. There is also the typical RUF integrated roll cage which adds chassis strength and safety.
The specs say that this 2640-pound vehicle can travel from naught to 62 miles per hour in under 3.5 seconds. That’s fast, but obviously there are many hypercars that are faster. The RUF CTR reaches its terminal velocity at around an impressive 225 mph.
Image Credit: Drew Phillips/Autoblog.com

Now, my man Bradley is not impressed with that. He says that the car should be lighter and faster. That’s because the new car is 105 pounds chunkier than the original car, while remaining nearly identical in all dimensions, and only fourteen miles per hour faster in top speed.
Let’s get something straight. The original Yellowbird was a suicide tin can based on the VW Beetle. It was probably scary to drive (I have it in Gran Tourismo, so I know!) and lacked modern refinement, comfort, and safety. It is safe to assume that the new car has all those things as it would otherwise be difficult to sell. And that explains the weight gain, too.
Regarding the top speed, that is a tricky one. You see, as speed increases so does the aerodynamic drag on the car. At over 200 mph the force of the drag is much higher than force a vehicle has to overcome due to its weight. Drag force could be reduced but it could come at a price of down-force and therefore cornering traction. It’s all a trade-off but in the end neither the original Yellowbird nor this new CTR, which inherited much of the original cars aerodynamics, was designed with top speed in mind. If they were, both look more like the 917 Le Mans car.
I can’t even agree with Bradley that this is a “truly modern supercar hiding in a vintage looking shell”
RUF clearly made this car to as a tribute to the original Yellowbird – dimensions, interior, look and all. While RUF says that this is an all new design, it clearly isn’t a new idea. The new CTR is not meant to be a modern supercar like the Yellowbird was at its time. Rather, this vehicle is for rich purists and the fact that there are no fancy AWD systems, dual clutch transmissions, hybrid power, or other modern exotic performance stuff here only exemplifies that.
This car will allow RUF to cash in on the hot bubbling classic 911 Carrera market and the various tribute cars. With the insane price of new 911Rs and various redone Singer cars, RUF should not have any problems moving the thirty planned cars at 750,000 Euro each.
Image Credit: Drew Phillips/Autoblog.com

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19 responses to “2017 RUF CTR – Yellowbird Tribute”

  1. JayP Avatar

    This is the 911 Porsche could have made had there not been scope creep.
    I love it and would offer an organ for one.

    1. Alff Avatar

      What’s not funny is the mental imagery I will associate with his name from this day forward.

  2. NapoleonSolo Avatar

    Gee. Looks pretty swell to me. Golly.

  3. Bradley Brownell Avatar
    Bradley Brownell

    Why, if you’re going to go to the trouble of building a from-scratch carbon monocoque, wouldn’t you make it something with less frontal area? We have modern concepts of aerodynamics, they could easily have made this shorter with a less abrupt windshield, and gotten another 20 mph out of it.
    It just boggles my mind.

    1. JayP Avatar

      I don’t know if they could decrease the greenhouse.
      That’s iconic 911.

      1. Bradley Brownell Avatar
        Bradley Brownell

        That’s kind of my point. This isn’t a 911. There are zero Porsche parts in this car. Why did they have to stick with a 30 year old design?
        I was expecting something like a revamped carbon-tub CTR3, but got an 87 Carrera…

        1. Kamil K Avatar

          Which is my point… it wasn’t about fast. It was about making a much better 87 Carrera.

          1. Alff Avatar

            I’m interested in what you have do say and would like to learn more. Do you have a pamphlet?

        2. theskitter Avatar

          If it’s a <='92 Carrera, they don't have meet FMVSS, just emissions. Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015. That’s much more important to a low volume manufacturer than +1 Top Speed.

          1. Bradley Brownell Avatar
            Bradley Brownell

            No. This car shares zero parts with a Porsche, it’s 100% a 2017 car. Unique Ruf VIN.
            @disqus_s2wbz2CPlT:disqus, then why didn’t they make it much better? If it’s my 750K Euro, I’m buying an original Yellowbird, TYVM.

          2. Zandr Milewski Avatar
            Zandr Milewski

            @theskitter:disqus is exactly right. This is totally about LVMVMA. It has sufficient resemblance to a G-model to qualify as a replica, and so they don’t have to do crash testing. Now, the other thing that law says is that they have to license any intellectual property that might apply. I have no idea what Ruf’s relationship with Porsche is like.
            Edit: It looks like they made the tail a little stubby, though.

          3. Kamil K Avatar

            For the reasons I said… people want the classic looks with modern everything. They want a better Singer and that’s what this is. It’s not about absolute speed or performance. I’d bet that a GT2 or ever a Turbo S would outperform it.

      2. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        But they have changed the overall proportions by allowing for and fitting 20 inch wheels. A slightly steeper windscreen rake and a half inch less height in the turret might help massage the aero?
        Or maybe they did?

  4. Manxman Avatar

    Kinda looks like a “Cars” movie cartoon version of what a 911 looks like.

  5. outback_ute Avatar

    Ruf have always certified and issued their own VIN’s as I understand it, which is how they can register modified cars in Germany. It would seem they have seen how successful Singer has been and are jumping on the bandwagon.

  6. CraigSu Avatar

    So, this is the answer to the question, “When is a Porsche not a Porsche?”.
    (Although, in fairness that question could have also been answered by the 914, 924, 944, 928, Cayenne, Macan, and Panamera depending on how much of a Porsche purist you are.)
    I also find it telling that RUF chose not to display the new Yellowbird alongside the original. That would have shown just how dimensionally correct it actually is.