18 January 2012

One Tuff RUF: 1989 Ruf Porsche CTR Yellowbird on eBay

A post motivated by this beauty on eBay; a pefect example of the near-mythical RUF CTR 'Yellowbird' You'll need to dig deep for it though; the BIN price is a wallet-wilting $279,000, though it goes without saying  that in an ideal world this would be in the Amazo garage, ready to jump upon unsuspecting Ferrari F40s.

The RUF CTR, also known as the CTR Yellowbird or simply Yellowbird, was a limited-production, high performance 911 by Ruf Automobile of Germany.
Released onto a frightened populace in 1987, the CTR featured an enlarged and highly tuned version of Porsche's latest 3.2 litre flat-six, lightened body panels, an integrated roll cage, upgraded suspension and brakes, a custom-designed gearbox to handle the monster engine and several unique trim pieces such as polyurethene bumpers, and an oil filler located on the passenger side rear wing (a Porsche feature only available for the 1972 model year) necessitated by relocating the oil tank forward to clear the intercooler on that side.

The CTR (an abbreviation of "Group C Turbo RUF") was based on the 1987 911 Carrera 3.2 as opposed to the factory 911 turbo, a decision made because of the 3.2's slightly lower curb weight and drag coefficient. Body panels including the doors, bonnet and engine cover were replaced with aluminium items, helping to knock an additional 200 kg (441 lb) off the standard vehicle's kerb weight. The CTR weighed in at 2,580lbs (1,170 kg); to put this into perspective, The 959S (the lightweight version of the standars 959) tipped the scales at a whopping 3452lbs (1566kg).

Much attention was given to the CTR's aerodynamics; with the body being de-guttered/seam welded and the use of filler panels for the door pillars to reduce drag and fibreglass front and rear bumpers were fitted. 935-style door mirrors rounded off the body modifications. Prototype models had NACA-style intercooler intake ducts over the rear arches; an idea later dropped, as it was discovered that air was pulled out, rather than in, at speed due to a low-pressure area. Later models had additional slots in the rear bumper corners for the air to exit. The rear arches were also slightly increased in width to accommodate the made-for-RUF Speedline wheels.

As well as making the base car lighter and slipperier, the engine also came under close scrutiny. The Carrera's 74.4mm stroke was retained, but the cylinders were bored out to 98 mm to increase displacement from 3164cc to 3367cc, adding an uprated Bosch Motronic fuel injection system, and switching to the ignition setup originally designed for the Porsche 962 LeMans racer. A redesigned turbo system featuring two large KKK (Kühnle, Kopp & Kausch) turbos and matching intercoolers completed the engine work, bringing total output to 496 bhp and 408 lb/ft of torque at 5950 rpm. This gave an output of of 139.3bhp/litre compared to the standard Carrera's 73bhp/litre.

At the time, Porsche offered the 911 3.2 with a 5-speed manual gearbox, but the 911 Turbo had only a 4-speed manual, chosen because it was the only unit Porsche made that could handle the might of the standard turbocharged engine. Not content with only four forward gears and with poor results from modified 5-speeders, RUF chose a third way - to use a new five-speed transmission of their own design on the CTR, which also gave them the freedom to choose gear ratios perfectly suited to their engine. To ensure that all this power had a fighting chance of getting down to the tarmac, an upgraded suspension system, with 17 inch Speedline alloy wheels made especially for RUF, 330 mm diameter Brembo cross-drilled discs and six pot calipers. RUF used Dunlop's Denloc Sport D40 run-flat tyres, a necessity on a 200mph+ car.

The company debuted the vehicle at the end of 1987 with a price tage of £136,000, although that figure could vary depending on whether a given customer ordered their car directly from RUF or if converted via a car supplied by Porsche Germany. RUF only made 29 CTRs from bare bodyshells bought from Porsche; most of the CTRs produced were converted from existing customers' Carreras.

Performance? The answer to that question is 'lots'; with that light shell and mighty output 0-60 mph came up in 3.7 seconds, 0-100 mph in 7.8 seconds, 0-125 mph in 11.4 seconds and a top speed of 211 mph (340 km/h). Although an elite group of cars such as the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 959 were faster to 60mph, the Yellowbird could outperform them all when it came to top speed, a figure that made it the fastest sports car in the world at the time of its release.
The car received its nickname, "Yellowbird", during testing by Road & Track magazine, whose staff noted the contrast created by its yellow paintwork against the overcast skies on the day of their photo shoot.
It was also a highly competent track vehicle, and for several years the CTR held the lap record at the Nurburgring-Nordschleife track.

The CTR was succeeded in 1996 by the CTR2, a much more comprehensive vehicle based on Porsche's newer 993-shape 911.

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