The Porsche 911 may be one of the most represented castings in all of Onesixtyfourland. Every major diecast brand has at least one 911 in their catalog, and the excitement stretches to boutique and unlicensed companies as well.
But until now, a very important part of 911 history had been noticeably absent from the pegs – Ruf.
Ruf is both a tuner and a manufacturer. Its extensive parts list can be added to any Porsche product to enhance their performance. Ruf also builds its own vehicles, complete with a unique VIN that distinguishes them from the body-in-white Porsches they’re based off of. While the company itself has been around in some form or another since 1939, it wasn’t until 1975 that Ruf began its association with Porsche.
During that time span, the company has breathed (or barfed) on everything from air-cooled G-bodies, to the Cayenne SUV and the Boxster convertible. They’ve even engineered their own cars, including the mid-engine CTR3.
Recently, two diecast companies presented their own take on the CTR, better known as the colloquial ‘Yellowbird.’ In period, the CTR crushed its contemporaries in sheer performance, including the Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32) and the Ferrari F40. Have twenty minutes to kill? Watch ‘Faszination on the Nurburgring’ on YouTube to full appreciate the velocity of Alois Ruf, Jr’s creation.
While Mini GT previewed their upcoming 2021 casting of the CTR in December 2020, it was PARA64 who brought their own preview to production first. Collectors were blessed with two color ways for the debut, the eponymous Yellowbird and an even slicker black version.
In hand, the two models immediately impress. The details are crisp and well executed, with the yellow one allowing for more noticeable trim decos. All of the production CTR features are there, including the rear vents in place of the NACA ducts on top of the rear quarters, the lunch tray rear spoiler, and the 935-style mirrors. The jeweled taillights only allow for an all-red strip, omitting the amber corner lights fitted in certain markets. The wheels, 5-spoke Speedlines, are imposing, if a tad too big. The badging, no matter how small, is all there, including on the center caps.
I asked Adrian, the voice of PARA64, if the company considered a diecast chassis, and his answer reminded me that I already pestered him with that request months ago. Simply put, the cars come in a very nice display box – so the majority of collectors are presumed to either keep them completely in the box or display them on the stand. Therefore the base is never fully visible and the heft, or lack thereof, is written off as a reallocation of resources. Fair enough, but I enjoy holding (and rolling, whenever possible) my toy cars. I’m happy to report that the CTRs roll, just not on their own no matter how much the incline. It’s also interesting to note the CTR1 retronym embossed on the chassis, as if it needed any further distinguishing from future CTRs.
Having the Ruf license has the possibility of tooling up other offerings from their storied past. I recall one of the first I saw in the wild, a tattered 3400S at a local bodyshop that seemed to focus on higher end cars (there was a 550 Maranello in the showroom that the shop foreman graciously allowed a very excited teenager to sit in). I have 35mm prints of it somewhere. Since then, I’ve come across a handful of 911-based Ruf products, mostly from the same collector: a 964-based BTR, an RT12 (997), a CTR2 Sport (993) and an RTurbo (996).
The most striking Ruf I have ever seen was the Turbo R Limited, a 1 of 7 creation specially tailored to each purchaser. I was privileged enough to be in the presence of the first, finished in Irish Green over carbon fiber body panels, at a 2019 Caffeine & Carburetors. The 993 is my favorite of the air-cooled generations and the Turbo R is the best of the best.
With the Ruf license and a positive working relationship with the company, all PARA64 needs to continue with future models is a great response to the CTR. And with one of the most iconic Rufs cast, which model is going to be brave enough to follow as a second act?
What Ruf would you like to see next?