Classic looks, carbon soul: RUF CTR Yellow Bird flies again
Porsche geeks from the late 1980s will have fond memories of the RUF CTR Yellow Bird. The German tuner took a fairly regular Carrera and, using two gigantic turbochargers, turned it into an absolute rocket. Very few were built, stamping the Yellow Bird in the pantheon of modern classics. Now the legend is back, with a brand-new carbon monocoque and furious twin-turbo engine. Excited? So are we.
Before we get into details about the new car, it's worth looking back at the crazy CTR that inspired it. The 60 mph (98 km/h) sprint took it just 3.65 seconds, and top speed was a sky-high 340 km/h (210 mph), making the low-volume special faster than the fearsome Ferrari F40 in a straight line. With swollen, lightweight fender flares and unique wheels, the RUF is also a style icon in the motoring world, its good looks still holding up today.
Whereas the original Yellow Bird was based on an existing Porsche 911 3.2, the new car is a totally bespoke design. It's built around a unique carbon fiber monocoque chassis, with a steel crash structure and roll cage the only non-composite parts of the structure. Even the body panels have been wrought in the lightweight weave, helping keep curb weight to just 1,200 kg (2,640 lb).
With such a light frame to shift, RUF didn't need to go over the top with power. Then again, the team in Pfaffenhausen isn't really known for doing things lazily and, as you'd expect, has stuffed a mind-bogglingly powerful twin-turbo flat six behind the rear wheels. Power peaks at 522 kW (700 hp) and torque tops out at 880 Nm (649 lb.ft) for a 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint of 3.5 seconds. Top speed is a suitably ludicrous 360 km/h (225 mph).
Just like the original, this is designed to be an analogue animal. Forget about dual-clutch gearboxes and auto rev-matching, power is put to the road through an old-fashioned six-speed manual gearbox. There aren't any clever electric differentials, and torque-vectoring isn't on the options list, but you do get a simple mechanical locking diff to help put the turbocharged torque to pavement.
In keeping with the simple spirit of the stick shift, the interior of the new Yellow Bird is a stripped-back two-seat affair. The seats are made of carbon fiber, the pedals are aluminum and the dials are simple, analogue clocks like the ones you'd find in the original CTR.
Simplicity is the order of the day outside, too, where the carbon body has been shaped to mimic the narrow, clean shape of the original. A market for restored and redone Porsches has popped up recently and, although it's a very different beast to the stunning Singer 911s gracing Instagram and Facebook feeds worldwide at the moment, we're in love with the curvy CTR shape.
Along with the car shown off in Geneva, just 30 examples of the new RUF Yellow Bird will be built. There's no doubt it's pretty, and there's a lot of power on tap, but we'll just have to wait and see if the modern CTR is elevated to the same legendary status as the '80s original. Pricing hasn't been announced, but it's expected to come close to seven figures.
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