For many enthusiasts, the CTR Yellow Bird is the iconic image of a Ruf car. Thus, while Ruf’s model program for the current Porsche 991-generation 911 is very successful, there is still a very strong following for his creations based on the narrow-body 1974-1989 G-Series 911s, and the 1989-1994 964-gen 911s that followed. In recent years, persistent requests from the latter group of customers led Alois Ruf and his team to implement a development program to bring quarter-of-a-century-old 911s bang up to date in terms of performance and technology. The result is the Ruf Ultimate and the Ruf SCR 4.2, which made their debut at the Geneva Motor Show this year.
“I wanted to take the CTR concept to the next level using contemporary technologies in its engine, chassis and, most significantly, its bodywork,” Alois Ruf explained. The base car is a 964 with its MacPherson strut front suspension and semi-trailing independent rear bolstered with Ruf springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars. The car’s entire outer skin is made from carbon fiber, the torsional rigidity of this structure further stiffened by the Ruf Integrated Roll Cage (IRC). Together with other weight saving measures, the Ultimate is 220 lbs lighter than the car it’s based on was when it first left the Porsche factory.
Back in 1988, the CTR Yellow Bird boasted a conservative 476 hp, and Alois admits today that his production cars all had closer to 500 hp, with the best ones showing as much as 510 hp on the dyno.
The Ultimate is powered by the classic Mezger-block, air-cooled, twin-turbo engine as well, but the later 3.6-liter version with the appropriate Ruf modifications. This engine is rated at 590 hp at 6,800 rpm, 531 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm, and drives the rear wheels, or optionally all four wheels, through a six-speed manual transmission.
In a car weighing just 2,679 lbs, this makes for a power-to-weight ratio of just 4.5 lbs/hp and quite spectacular performance, with a top speed of 212 mph. Acceleration is equally impressive, with the all-wheel-drive variant capable of a sub-3.0 second 0-62 mph sprint.
At a glance, the Ultimate is a dead ringer for the original CTR, even down to details like the air vents in its rear bumper. But where the revered original had orange U.S.-spec front indicator lights, the new car has clear ones. And the Carrera 3.2 fog-lights in its front bumper have been replaced by brake cooling ducts.