Jay Leno meets the Rufs and three generations of CTRs

The twin-turbocharged Ruf CTR “Yellowbird” turned into a legend, thanks to its Nürburgring promo video. And as the first production CTR sits in the Youtube limelight with its two Ruf siblings in the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, all that fame is well justified.

It was the team at Road & Track who made the Ruf CTR big in America with their 1987 “the world’s fastest” cover story, and three decades later when R&T followed up on that driving Ruf’s latest sports car, I was actually there to meet Alois, Estonia, and their son, Marcel, in Pfaffenhausen. Not only are they the nicest people, but also the family behind one of Europe’s most impressive engineering companies. 

Next to Bruce Meyer’s Yellowbird (chassis no. #001), Alois and Estonia Ruf bring two later cars to Leno’s garage. While the CTR2 shocks, with its rear wing featuring an integrated intercooler that called for a complete redesign of the 993’s rear end, the mid-engine CTR3 uses a bespoke chassis and a 3.6-liter flat-six twin-turbocharged to 777-horsepower. Because why not?

Let’s not forget that Ruf made its own five-speed gearbox long before Porsche got there, as well as engines, chassis, brakes, and all else needed to go really fast. And since this family business, still located next to the gas station once owned by the Rufs, spent a large heap of money on developing its own carbon-fiber monocoque, no Porsche body-in-white is needed to create its latest products. A manufacturer since 1981, and more independent than ever.

Just 29 CTRs were built from scratch with a Ruf serial number, and while the prototype remains at Ruf, #001 went to Mr. Meyer in America. Last year, I found this car in Pfaffenhausen undergoing a full restoration.

RUF Vin plate
Máté Petrány

Still, you’ve guessed already which one Leno just had to drive. The most yellow... by a long shot.