1990 Ruf CTR & engine bay. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Brendan McAleer
The fastest car in the world. These days, that record belongs to the Porsche 918 Spyder, which just recently knocked the Bugatti Veyron off that pedestal (at least around the Nurburgring). The 918 whisks its passengers to stupendous speeds in luxurious comfort with the help of electric propulsion and black magic. If you want a 918 Spyder, and you live in Vancouver, you come see these guys. However, they also briefly had something a little older, a little rarer, and considerably more dangerous. And I got a ride.
Say hello to the only Ruf CTR in Canada. This one’s red, but you may remember it better as the “Yellowbird” that once graced the cover of Road and Track in the late 1980s. There, taking on the likes of the Ferrari F40, the Porsche 959, the Testarossa, and the Lamborghini Countach, it simply slaughtered the world’s premier cars in outright speed. It would go on to set a record lap at the treacherous Nürburgring, decimating the track with raw power.
Ruf, a German manufacturer that specialized in squeezing more performance out of early Porsche turbos, created this monster from scratch. Just 29 bare shells of the narrow-body 911 Carrera 3.2 were shipped over from Porsche, and the sheet metal was further massaged to be even more aerodynamic. A sequentially turbocharged engine was fitted, producing an incredible 469 hp in a car that weighed under 1,180 kg (2,600 lb). Power was routed to the rear wheels only, where it promptly vapourized the tires on its way to a top speed of 350 km/h.
Now it sits in a showroom in Vancouver, parked next to modern 911 Turbos that are far more genteel. Ye gods – if I listen carefully, I think I can hear this thing growling.
Like Ruf, the Weissach group of dealerships started out as a small Porsche servicing company, setting up shop in late 1980 just outside downtown Vancouver. Demand for their services was fierce, and before long the team was wrenching in the rain and shopping for a bigger space.
They would move several times, gaining space with each move. Along the way, clients started asking for advice on potential purchases, or for help in selling their cars. Before long, a small showroom was part of the operation, and from there Weissach would grow to represent Lamborghini, Lotus, and Bugatti. They remain the largest independent Porsche store in Canada.
Stuart Davidson, Weissach’s service director, has been with the company since the beginning. He offers to take me for a spin in the mighty Ruf. I check to make sure my life insurance is all paid up.
How does a small independent shop end up with a 1-of-29 beast like this? Before Weissach changed to representing TechArt, another German Porsche tuning specialist, selling Ruf wheels and other parts was a large part of their business. They’ve serviced this car previously, and when it became available in Montreal, a client called them up.