Jay Leno’s Garage Welcomes Three Generations Of the RUF CTR, Yellowbird Included

The RUF CTR isn’t a Porsche 911 given the vehicle identification number and extensive modifications brought to the car, inside and out. But nevertheless, the Yellowbird wouldn’t be here with us today if Porsche didn’t agree to deliver unmarked chassis to the Pfaffenhausen-based outfit.
Jay Leno’s Garage Welcomes Three Generations Of the RUF CTR 22 photos
Photo: screenshot from YouTube
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Founded in 1939 by Alois Ruf, the company used to be a service garage back in the day. It was the late-1940s when senior and his employees started experimenting with different vehicle designs, culminating with a tour bus in 1955. Alois Ruf Jr. then entered the scene in the 1960s, an enthusiast of sports cars and a fan of all things Porsche.

Senior died in 1974 during the development of the Turbo 3.3, the company’s first 911-based model with underpinnings from the 930. Then came the SCR 3.2 in 1978, followed by the BTR and CTR Yellowbird that made RUF a world-class sensation.

Given the history of Ruf Automobile GmbH and the go-faster passion of Alois and Estonia Ruf, it’s easy to understand why Jay Leno is so excited to feature no fewer than three cars in his garage. The oldest of the lot is the Yellowbird with approximately 575 horsepower, based on a Carrera from 1989. There’s also a CTR2 Sport based on the 993, which was produced in limited numbers (16 standard models and 12 Sport).

The third and final car brought to Jay Leno’s famous Big Dog Garage in Burbank is the CTR3 Clubsport, unveiled in 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show with 766 horsepower (777 PS) from a 3.7-liter boxer engine. As opposed to previous CTRs, this fellow is the first to feature a RUF body and a unique platform co-developed with Multimatic. You know, the Canadians who build the GT supercar for the Ford Motor Company.

If you are wondering what CTR stands for, Alois explains that the idea started with Group C racing in the 1980s. The T comes from turbocharging, and R is the first letter in Ruf. In other words, Alois Jr. wanted to bring motorsport-like performance to road cars when he started modifying 911s for a living.

What is most baffling about RUF and their products is that a no-nonsense automaker like Porsche, with know-how from endurance racing and brilliant engineers, allowed to be one-upped by a small shop. You could say that it’s a similar story to what AMG was back in the day for Mercedes-Benz, but make no mistake about it, RUF and Porsche are on a different level altogether.

Oh, and here’s a spoiler alert before you press play. Leno takes the Yellowbird for a spin, describing it as “one solid beast” that “pulls so strong.”

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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