SSC ULTIMATE AERO — SCROLL TO READ
One Man's Dream
Written by Nicolas Bates
It is rare when it happens, however, every now and then a small startup car manufacturer will give the big boys a run for their money with a certain vehicle. Generally short lived when it does happen, that company may fade away in to obscurity, only to have their car listed in coffee table books as a one-off build far, far in the past. Infant company, SSC (Shelby Super Cars), seems to be on their way to having a feasible future within the exotic/high performance car world. So much, in fact, that SSC (not to be confused with Carroll Shelby of Ford and Cobra fame) built a car that held the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest production car (pre-Bugatti Veyron). This car, the SSC Ultimate Aero, is still in production (with minor upgrades—the second generation Ultimate Aero TT is about to be released as well) and will still blow the doors off just about any other car on the road.
The Aero, at first glance, looks vaguely familiar. Like, perhaps, it is a brother of the Lamborghini Diablo or early McLaren F1. Regardless of what it looks like, it packs a nasty punch. Jarrod Shelby, owner of SSC, built the Aero from the ground up with the intention to create a true "driver's car." Standard, the car does not come with power steering or power brakes, making maneuvering at parking lot speed a tad more interesting; however, the car seems to perk up at speeds and becomes easier to tame. Although there have been reports that the car did not have air conditioning, the claims are untrue. The car even has such amenities as power windows, mirrors and a backup camera. Navigation is also included as standard equipment.
The Aero, currently being one of the fastest cars in the world, has to have two things for certain: low weight and high horsepower; and that it does. The car was originally fitted with a twin-turbocharged Chevy small block, but is now powered by an SSC-designed aluminum small block, which is still turbocharged by the twin snails. The car, which is boosted at 14 psi, produces 1,287 hp to the crank at 6,075 rpm and 1,112 ft-lb. of torque at 6,150 rpm. Redline is low at 7,500 rpm, and of course the compression is low (due to the turbochargers), and comes in 8.975:1—this, all on 91 pump gas. The car maintains its lightweight of 2,751 lb. by using a carbon fiber, composite and steel space frame to make up its skeleton. The brakes, made in-house (except for the calipers) are 14" vented and slotted disks with 8 pistons in the front and 6 in the rear! SSC claims the car will come to rest from 60 mph in 103 ft. SSC also claims the car will do 0-60 in 2.78 seconds and has a projected top speed of 273 mph (it's record breaking run was recorded at 257.41 mph). A serious machine with a very drivable feel is what you get from the Aero…
Currently the Ultimate Aero is being reworked and will soon emerge as another speed record-breaking contestant as the Ultimate Aero TT, or the Tuatara, which is said to have 1,300 bhp and a 7-liter V8. However, nothing can truly be taken away from the original Ultimate Aero. It's not everyday that an entrepreneur builds a top-rate exotic (er, domestic—the Aero was designed and built on U.S. soil) that will actually hold the title of fastest production car in the Guinness Book of World Records. And since the Ultimate Aero TT will soon be on its way to eating asphalt, SSC has a very slim chance of falling by the wayside. Not just an exotic or high-performance supercar, the Ultimate Aero is a true dream story, and if you see an Ultimate Aero on the street, take a long hard look. This car wasn't built by years and years of money and history. It was built by one man…
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