RUF Automobile is a German car manufacturer that has gained its fame by developing cars based on several generations of unmarked Porsche chassis. Instead of adding body kits or taking apart existing cars, RUF builds theirs from the ground up as completely new cars. They use the bare chassis and assemble them using in-house Ruf-made parts and materials. They're so different from the original product that they get their own VIN number at the end.

In 1987 RUF launched the CTR, standing for Group C Turbo RUF, and also known as the 'The Yellowbird." It was a groundbreaking car, and we absolutely love it. With its history and influence in mind, it's no surprise that in today's market, they are worth quite a bit of cash.

RELATED: Watch The All-New RUF CTR Yellowbird Documentary

Getting To Know "The Yellowbird"

Ruf CTR Yellowbird
Via Petrolicious

In April 1987, Road & Track magazine held the "World's Fastest Cars" contest. There, it was designated the title of "The Fastest Production Car in the World". A title that only adds to its already hefty price tag. It went from 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds and 0-100 mph in just 7.3 seconds. A 1⁄4 mile took just 11.7 seconds whilst crossing the line at 133.5 mph. Top speed? 211 MPH... in 1987!

At the event, the CTR that was being used was painted in bright yellow by RUF, which quickly gave it the nickname of ‘Yellow Bird’ by both RUF’s own staff and the journalists who attended. One thing about the CTR that must be noted was its size. RUF chose to build the CTR on the slimmer Carrera platform instead of the wide-arched 930 Turbo, which is now also worth some good money.

Ruf CTR Yellowbird on the highway

This meant that RUF could fully take advantage of the lower drag coefficient. The CTR was made even more aero and slipstream by smoothing out the body panels and fitting smaller side mirrors. Under a lightweight aluminum cover, Porsche’s notorious 3.4-liter flat-six had been bored out and fitted with a fuel-injection system that had originally been developed for use in Porsche’s 962 race cars. The recipe for the Yellowbird was truly special.

CTR Yellowbird Engine
Via BH Auction

Most importantly, RUF equipped the engine with a pair of turbochargers and twin intercoolers. Porsche’s 911 Turbo only had a four-speed gearbox at the time, whereas the CTR had a five-speed that RUF had developed in-house.

Ruf had actually been offering this gearbox upgrade to 911 customers since 1981, so by the time it came to putting in their own car they knew just how much power it could handle. If you were ever in doubt about its capabilities on track, it made a real name for itself on the Nürburgring.

To make sure it could stop, a set of cross-drilled and ventilated Brembo brakes were fitted front and rear. As for the wheels, a set of 17" Speedline's wrapped with special Dunlop tires, that had been originally developed for Porsche’s 959. The CTR was crafted to perfection, RUF had been using the latest and greatest of Porsche developments to build what would become the world's fastest car. Originally priced at around $140k, it would prove to certainly be worth the investment.

How Much A RUF CTR Yellowbird Costs Today?

Ruf Yellowbird

With all the legacy and mind-bending performance figures, it's to no surprise that if you want to own one of the original RUF CTRs, you need to be prepared to put down a big lump of cash. Since the second and third iterations of the yellowbird came, and if you're a purist and want one of the originals, expect to be paying a big premium.

In 2005, a German pelican parts forum user had reported seeing chassis number 3 which was painted in RUF Green for sale in Germany. The asking price at the time equated to around $116k. This seems like an absolute steal compared to the CTR boom that followed. Originally, 11 were imported to Japan and the rest found their way to several corners of Europe and across the globe. In 2018 the only CTR painted in Porsche RS mint green sold for just shy of $400k in a Paris auction.

Porsche RS mint green side shot sold in Paris ruf ctr club sport
via RM Sotheby's

Due to this and its limited original production numbers, it's obvious that this car was definitely not going to get cheaper.

A Sotheby's auction in 2018 saw chassis number 10 sell for over $1million. The story here is that this one was originally meant to go to RUF’s Swiss importer, but was instead bought by a German. This same gentleman had another CTR on order (lucky guy) but bought this one to run in until his other car was finished.

There are few cars that have had such motoring success in such low production numbers. This car was viral at the time and was a poster car for many. If you're the kind of person dying to get one of these in your collection, you're out of luck. In May 2021, the most recent sale, an extremely rare 4-wheel drive CTR 1 of only 2 produced, sold for a staggering $346,000. As for the rest of the "Yellowbirds"? You can expect to see them in some of the world's best car collections for some time to come.

RUF Porsche Rodeo Concept 1
RUF Porsche Rodeo Concept Is A Glamorous Off-Roader
Read Next
About The Author