Skip to main content

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

2017 Ruf CTR "Yellow Bird"
Image used with permission by copyright holder
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.

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.

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
The Tesla Model Y is far from my favorite EV, but I’m pretty close to buying one
Tesla Model Y One Millionth Car

I may finally be on my way toward buying my first EV. Sure, I've tested dozens of electric car models over the years, but despite that (or perhaps because of it), I have yet to buy one. But my family is growing, and my wife and I aren't so sure about carting our future kids around in an aging car that lacks the safety features of modern vehicles.

Because of the fact that we're expecting our kid in January, we have a bit of a deadline. So what are we leaning toward? Well, despite the fact that it's far from my favorite EV, we may actually end up just getting a Model Y.
Timing makes a difference
If the baby was coming along in a year's time, things might be completely different. There are a few reasons for that.

Read more
Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally kicks up some dirt
Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally driving on a dirt road.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV pushed the hallowed Mustang nameplate in a different direction, and it's doing that again with a new performance variant. Debuting in 2024, the Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally is designed for fun on both pavement and dirt.

Rallying is a form of motorsport where drivers compete to set the quickest time over a course — usually a closed road or trail — rather than a dedicated racetrack that includes a variety of surfaces like dirt, gravel, or even snow. Rallying has inspired some epic performance road cars over the years, including the Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and Ford's own Focus RS, but it's never really been associated with the Mustang.

Read more
BMW scraps its unpopular approach to heated seats
Driver's seat and dashboard of the 2023 BMW iX M60.

BMW caused much consternation last year when it launched a subscription-only option for heated car seats.

The idea of having to pay a monthly fee of $18 to keep your posterior warm during the winter months still seems as absurd as ever, but the good news is that the German automaker has now decided to scrap the fee. What particularly irked customers was that they felt they were being forced to cough up extra for functions that would previously have been expected as standard. The fiasco even prompted a community of hackers to offer their services to unlock the feature for those unwilling to pay extra for it.

Read more