Renowned German Porsche tuner RUF Automobile GmbH pioneered new territory at the Geneva Motor Show when it unveiled its first-ever complete car, the 225-mph RUF CTR. The company has built its formidable reputation on creating shockingly fast 911s, but now it has built a 700-horsepower carbon fiber missile that only looks like a 911.
A quick history refresher may be in order: In 1987, RUF (pronounce it like the thing that keeps rain out of your house, not the sound a dog makes) built a modified 911 it named the CTR, and the most famous example was a bright yellow model dubbed "Yellow Bird" by Road & Track photographer John Lamm. because the car's paint was as incandescent as its performance.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of that car, RUF is now building 30 new CTRs. But while these cars carry the appearance of a classic 911, they are entirely purpose-built modern performance machines, with carbon fiber construction and revised dimensions that recall, but do not duplicate, the Porsche.
The central portion of the car's chassis is a carbon fiber monocoque, with high-strength steel tube crush structures at the front and rear. The CTR's wheelbase stretches 2.75 inches further than that of a classic 911 for improved stability at the car's insane top speed, but overall length remains unchanged.
All the body panels are lightweight carbon fiber, and the car's fuselage is about an inch wider than that of the old 911s, so the fender flares don't have to protrude as far to enclose the wheels. The headlights have migrated slightly further outboard to preserve the correct appearance.
Beneath the CTR's rear engine cover lies a modern water-cooled 700-horsepower 3.6-liter flat six-cylinder rather than the air-cooled powerplant a 911 of the CTR's apparent vintage would employ. This permits more power and ensures the CTR can meet global pollution limits.
One aspect of the CTR that remains delightfully retro is its use of a traditional H-pattern manual transmission, an anachronism that driving enthusiasts still demand because of the participation required and skill rewarded.
"The CTR's heritage feeling and new car feeling is like in 2002, and the Ford GT was introduced," owner and president Alois Ruf explained. As with that car, the CTR is a fully conteporary machine that is cloaked in vintage clothing. "It is a modern car in a classic silhouette."
Wouldn't we all like to be able to adopt classic style so effortlessly. You can try, by getting a RUF CTR, though most of the $790,000 beauties are already spoken for. Yours doesn't have to be yellow.