Ruf CTR: 1987’s fastest car in the world
The story goes that Alois Ruf cut his teeth working on Porsche 356s in his father’s garage. When he inherited his father’s eponymous business in 1974, the sensational 2.7 RS was already rapidly establishing itself in competition.
Alois Ruf saw the possibilities of modifying Porsches for owners so that they could go even faster. Connoisseur of Porsche’s flat-four and six engines, he knew achieving more power without compromising driveability was not simply a matter of polishing ports and bolting on bigger carburettors.
From the outset, the Ruf approach would be characterised by bespoke engineering of such integrity that within a decade it would lead to granting of manufacturer status.
The appeal of turbocharging was irresistible and Ruf’s first effort was a Porsche 930 bored out to 3.3 litres, which appeared in 1977, some months before Zuffenhausen’s own 3.3.
With his next car, Ruf beat Porsche to it again in 1978 with a 3.2-litre, 217-horsepower edition of the 180-horsepower 3.0-litre SC. This caused a stir among 911 fans dismayed that the Zuffenhausen flat-six had lost 30 horses since the 2.7 only three years earlier and Ruf sold several hundred of his 3.2.
This model also proved he was just as adept at improving the naturally aspirated engine. However, turbocharging had greater appeal in terms of outright performance, which could really differentiate a Ruf from a factory Porsche and also lift Ruf above the status of mere tuner.
1981 saw the introduction of the Ruf Turbo with a five-speed gearbox – when the 930 still had four– and within two years Ruf presented his BTR (Gruppe B Turbo Ruf), a 930 bored out to 3.4 litres with a claimed 374 horsepower.
Road & Track’s, Paul Frère drove the BTR to 306 kilometres (190 miles) per hour at VW’s test track in Ehra Liessen, the fastest Frère said he had ever driven. This turned out to be a warm up for the main event.