SSC Ultimate Aero

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The SSC Ultimate Aero was the predecessor to the modern Tuatara and the fastest production car of its time. Yes, – it’s considerably faster than the iconic Veyron or Koenigsegg CCX. This car’s outstanding, high-speed abilities are listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. On September 13, 2007, on a blocked highway in Washington, Rick Dorea tested the car up to 413 km in one direction and 409 km moving backwards.
I think the Ultimate Aero is the closest thing to the Saleen S7.

Both cars were made in the US, had rear-wheel drive and a manual transmission. Both supercars were not even optionally equipped with ABS and traction control. But in spite of the similarity Saleen S7 has started to produce as a track car, and only few years later appeared road model. The Ultimate Aero was originally conceived as an incredibly fast, but road car. Maybe that’s the reason why there is noticeably more space in the driver’s and passenger’s feet of the SSC than in Saleen S7.

All car enthusiasts have heard the name Carroll Shelby. But this legendary man has nothing to do with the company Shelby Super Cars North America. The new, American brand was given life by Jerob Shelby. It is interesting that in spite of the fact that he was engaged in karting since childhood and his dream to create a supercar from the age of 14, before the foundation of the car company Jerob worked in the field of medical equipment. In ’91, the designer co-founded Advanced Imasing Technologies, Inc. By the way, – the first car of Jerob Shelby was Nissan 240Z, – rather bright, Japanese car, which Jerob had finalized with his own forces and had increased significantly its power.

In ’99, Jerob set about making his dream come true. The Ultimate Aero was developed for 7 years. By the way, the company he founded is located in Richland, Washington. Whereas Saleen Automotive Inc was founded in California, where Vector supercars were already produced.

The huge, fuel tank of the SSC supercar holds 120 liters. But imagine driving with the accelerator pedal permanently recessed, that’s only enough fuel for 7.5 minutes. Each Ultimate Aero took three months to assemble.

Price and cost of the SSC Ultimate Aero.

Interestingly, the company’s first supercar was sold on eBay. This car sold for $431,000. Which, although an impressive amount, was significantly lower than the cost of Bugatti’s Veyron. The Ultimate Aero series is only 50 cars, 25 of which were in the TT – Twin Turbo modification. This is a significantly smaller series than the Bugatti Veyron, of which 450 cars were produced. Even the Saleen S7, taking into account the racing cars, was produced in 100 copies.

Exterior and photos of the SSC Ultimate Aero.
Jerod Shelby himself worked on the exterior of the American supercar. It would be superfluous to talk about the importance of aerodynamics on such an incredibly fast car. The aerodynamic tuning work was done in the largest aerodynamic tube in the world in Virginia. Previously, this tube had been used by NASA. The drag coefficient is 0.357. You can notice in the pictures that the taillights of the Ultimate Aero are the same as those of the Saleen S7.

If you look at the photo of the SSC Ultimate Aero, you won’t notice the gas tank hatch. The thing is, not only the tank, but even its cap, is in the front trunk. I have not seen such a solution on any production car. In this case the gas tank is moved forward largely to optimize the weight distribution. The front axle of the SSC supercar carries 42% of the weight and 58% of the weight of the rear axle.

The Ultimate Aero is based on a frame partly made of titanium. Carbon fiber body panels are hinged on this frame. Thanks to the use of these lightweight but very expensive materials, the curb weight of the SSC is only 1,250kg. The body itself without doors and trunk lids weighs only 59.5 kg.

In the photo you can see the inscription Aero on the brake calipers. There are eight-piston callipers at the front and six-piston at the rear. Diameter of front brake discs is 14 inches. And in fact, such a diameter of wheel rims is found on many, modern cars. The SSC has 235/35 YR19 tires in the front, and 335/30 YR20 in the rear.
In addition to excellent braking, the special air brake flaps, which extend 20 cm from the rear, also contribute to better braking at speed.

Interior and interior of the SSC Ultimate Aero.
The SSC doors open in a wing-butterfly pattern. McLaren likes such solution, it is also used in Saleen and many racing bolides. By the way, when creating the SSC saloon, the developers faced the task to provide enough space for athletes, who play American soccer.

The seats of Recaro have a carbon fiber frame, and are made for a particular customer. The steering wheel makes 2.5 turns from stop to stop. For comparison, the Saleen steering wheel turns from one extreme point to another in 2 turns.

The threshold is not as wide as in the S7, and this contributes to easier and more comfortable penetration into the cabin. Unusually, the engine start button is on the ceiling. Among the instruments, there is a dial that displays the power used at a given second.

In front of the gear lever there is a plate with the chassis number, which reminds about the exclusivity of the American car.

The SSC Ultimate Aero offers such equipment as: – audio system with 10 speakers, navigation system, air conditioning and rearview camera.

Engine and specifications of the SSC Ultimate Aero.

The basis for the engine of the SSC supercar was a block from the Chevrolet Corvette. With a stroke of 4.125d (104.8mm) and cylinder diameter of 3.620d (91.9mm) the engine volume is 387 cubic inches (6.3l). The engine weighs 191kg, which is not much for such a big motor.

The gearbox here is a six-horsepower, manual from the Dodge Viper. Main gear ratio has 3.44:1.
Appeared in 2007 SSC Ultimate Aero developed 1,180 hp at 6,950 rpm. Maximum torque of 1,500Nm is reached at 6,150 rpm. Up to 100km SSC supercar is able to accelerate in just 2.8s, which is fantastically fast even today. Remember, it’s rear-wheel drive, not all-wheel drive. From zero to 300, the Twin Turbo can do it in 13 seconds. By comparison, the Veyron does the same exercise in 16.7s. The Ultimate Aero TT can accelerate from zero to 400km in 30 seconds.
In 2009, the SSC received a new power system and the engine received a 0.1L boost. The engine has a compression ratio of 8.975:1 and is designed to run on 104 gasoline. Power of 1287 horses is achieved at 6,100 rpm. Charge pressure is 1.4 bar.
In 2013, the last modification – XT – was released. This car was planned as the final series and produced five copies. Engine capacity of the XT was increased to 6.9 liters, but the world has seen only one such car.

The SSC Ultimate Aero is an example of how fast cars can be built in the USA. It’s also an example of Americans’ vision of a supercar. There’s no V12, which is so beloved among admirers of European brands. There’s no carbon-fiber monocoque. This car uses solutions that are not at all like what the Europeans do. The series of 50-at cars is not too high, but it gave an impetus to the development of the company and to create an even more powerful car – the Tuatara. The latter is not inferior in speed to the fastest, European, road supercars and is one of the fastest cars of the present. But we will talk about it next time.

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