Car culture around the Middle East region is strong – of that there is no doubt. Whether it be driven by the love of main stream models such as the ubiqutous Nissan Patrols and Toyota Land Cruisers, to more special metal. Now I’m not just talking about the easy to find special metal here. We are talking about the really rare stuff! Machines that are legends to the main stream and will go down in history as game changers. One such machine is the legendary Ruf CTR, or to you and me “Yellowbird”. We have never seen one here in the UAE but I have had the pleasure of seeing one in Bahrain. Mind you I wasn’t prepared for the sight I saw the other day, as I was having my usual flick through teamspeed. 29 of these beauties where built from scratch..and 3 of them are sat together in Bahrain of all places!
The Yellowbird was a super limited-production car produced by Alois Ruf and the team at Ruf Automobile, based in a little town called Pfaffenhausen, Germany. The car was first shown to the world in 1987 and took what was basically a Porsche 911 and threw the kitchen sink at it. First up was the enlarged and highly tuned version of Porsche’s 3.2 litre flat-six cylinder engine, lightened body panels, an integrated roll cage (truly beautiful and now a signature of Ruf’s work), heavily upgraded suspension, brakes and a trick transmission took care of the oily bits.
As you can imagine for a car that was destined to have the capabilties the Yellowbird had, much thought had to be given to the narrow bodied Porsche 911′s shell. First up the body was de-guttered and cheeky yet super simple filler panels for the door pillars where used along with proven Porsche 935 style mirrors. For those that really know their onions you may also want to know that early engineering cars also had NACA ducts over the rear fenders, however after testing they were found to operate in reverse to what was expected – so they were dropped. Further on down the production life cycle some models had additional slots in the rear bumper corners for the air to escape.
Now you can just imagine this little narrow bodied Ruf wasn’t going to be a slouch and in that area it didn’t fail to deliver. With 469 hp and 408 lbft of twist the 1,170 kg car could scuttle to 100kmh in around 3.7 seconds and had a top speed that was well in excess of 320 km/h. Now these are performance figures that allowed one of the owners of this car to show a clean pair of heels to a Porsche Carrera GT at the Sukhir in Bahrain. Killer performance for a car as old is the Ruf!
For those of you that wonder why the car carries the moniker “Yellowbird”, it is refreshingly simple. The Journos at long time road test magazine, Road & Track magazine, based in the US, simply noted the contrast created by its yellow paintwork against the overcast dingy skies on the day of their photo shoot. The best names are created in the most simple of ways! Who would have thought it would stick that strongly though!
Enjoy the movie – added pleasure!