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The 'Yellow Bird' looks like a 911 (but it's a completely different animal)

Why it matters to you

The original Ruf Yellow Bird is one of the most famous tuner cars ever -- and the new version may be even faster.

When it comes to Porsche tuners, no name is more respected than Ruf, and no Ruf car can match the legendary status of the 1987 CTR “Yellow Bird,” a souped up 911 that wiped the floor with pedigreed supercars back in its day. At the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the Yellow Bird flew again.

Ruf is resurrecting its most famous car for a limited production run. Like The Six Million Dollar Man, the 2017 CTR was built with a major infusion of cash and technology, and incorporates very little of the original. That 1987 CTR acquired the “Yellow Bird” nickname (inspired by the car’s yellow paint) during a Road & Track comparison test at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessein high-speed track in Germany. The car went on to hit 213 mph during that test, and achieved instant fame.

The 2017 CTR may look like a 1980s 911, but it’s actually based on a carbon fiber monocoque chassis designed from scratch by Ruf. The company says it’s the first car it has ever engineered from the ground up. The chassis is augmented by steel front and rear crash structures and a roll cage for safety reasons, but the complete car still weighs only 2,640 pounds without fluids on board.

More: Porsche restores the 911 GT3’s manual transmission

Power comes courtesy of a 3.6-liter, twin-turbocharged flat-six engine, mounted in the customary 911 spot, in the rear. It produces a staggering 700 horsepower and 649 pound-feet of torque, channeled to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential. Ruf quotes 0 to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds, and a top speed of 225 mph.

The engine isn’t the only serious piece of hardware here. Ruf equipped the CTR with unconventional pushrod suspension to maximize handling prowess, plus carbon ceramic brakes with six-piston calipers. The two-seat interior is a mix of leather, Alcantara, aluminum, and carbon fiber. Ruf’s focus was on saving weight and providing a race car-like feel, not luxury.

Ruf will only build 30 copies of the 2017 CTR, including the prototype that was displayed in Geneva. Production begins next year, and about half of the production run will go to the U.S., founder Alois Ruf told Autoblog. That’s the good news, but the bad news is that nearly all of the Yellow Birds are already spoken for, and European buyers are paying around $791,000 for them. You could buy some pretty exotic supercars for that money, but then again the Yellow Bird might be faster than them.