On Sept. 13, 2007, the Shelby SuperCars’ Ultimate Aero became the fastest accumulation car in the world. The accident took abode on a briefly closed, two-lane amplitude of accessible artery in Washington State. In accordance with Guinness Apple Records’ austere policies, the car had to drive bottomward the highway, about-face around, and accomplish a added canyon in the adverse administration aural one hour.
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The Ultimate Aero acquaint 257.41 mph on the aboriginal canyon and 254.88 mph on the added for an boilerplate of 256.18 mph. Official abstracts were calm via a GPS tracking arrangement from Austrian abstracts accretion aggregation Dewetron. Guinness Apple Records afterwards absolute abstracts for an official top-speed advertisement on Oct. 9, 2007. At that acceleration the Ultimate Aero bankrupt the official almanac captivated by the Koenigsegg CCR (242 mph) and the actionable almanac (253 mph) captivated by Volkswagen’s $1.6 actor Bugatti.
And the car could go alike faster. NASA’s wind adit testing ability in Langley, Va., begin the Ultimate Aero to be aerodynamically abiding at speeds up to 273 mph. It aloof ran out of road. “If there was added beeline pavement on which to accelerate, the top acceleration would accept been appreciably higher, so if anyone challenges our almanac there is bags larboard on the table,” says Chuck Bigelow, the adventurous anatomy who piloted the Ultimate Aero on its record-breaking run.
Achieving the almanac wasn’t aloof a amount of aloof rights, though. For aggregation architect Jerod Shelby it was a business decision. From aboriginal on Shelby, who started the West Richland, Wash. aggregation in 2000, absitively that he had to breach the accumulation car top-speed almanac in adjustment to authorize believability for his babyish company. “No one is activity to buy a $600,000 car they never heard of,” he says.
As Junus Khan, his administrator of marketing, adds: “Being a aboriginal player, it was important to do article amazing in adjustment to accretion believability and to be taken seriously. Our capital ambition wasn’t aloof to breach the acceleration record, it was to become a well-known, admired architect of world-class exotics.”
Before he was able to apprehend his dream, Shelby, 39, a aloft go-kart champ and an architect by trade, spent 13 years developing patents for medical-device aggregation Advance Imaging Technology in adjacent Richland, Wash. One of his patents is for a radiation-free medical accessory that uses complete after-effects to browse for breast cancer.
After added than a decade developing advance medical technology, Shelby — who is no affiliation to allegorical auto artist Carroll Shelby — accomplished that his banking success would allow him the befalling to accompany his constant automotive ambitions. “I consistently anticipation it would be abundant if I could architecture my own car. So about nine years ago, while bistro at an Italian restaurant, I did my aboriginal napkin drawing. Amazingly, the final artefact looks actual agnate to our aboriginal sketches.”
The final artefact stood cat-and-mouse for me on a brilliant afternoon in mid-December at a 13-mile bend in the Nevada desert. I had ahead apprenticed the Veyron, and SSC capital to get my acknowledgment on the Ultimate Aero. So I went out to Las Vegas to accommodated Shelby, Khan, and the stakeholders in SSC’s aboriginal and, so far, alone dealership. The bedfellow of honor, a baking red and atramentous Ultimate Aero, is No. 7 of the 50 Shelby affairs to anatomy and is the alone customer-ready archetype that currently exists in the U.S.
The Bugatti and Ultimate Aero are actual agnate aback you attending at some of the key achievement and accouterments statistics. They both independent expensive, failing abstracts such as aluminum and carbon fiber; a mid-mounted agent aided by the use of turbochargers (two for SSC and four for Bugatti); 1000-plus horsepower; 0 to 60 mph times beneath three seconds; and a top acceleration aloft 250 mph. This is area the similarities end and differing characteristics alpha to become added apparent.
First off, the Veyron sends ability to all four auto while the Ultimate Aero utilizes a rear-drive bureaucracy with no absorption control. Yes, you apprehend that accurately — no absorption control. In the agent department, Bugatti advantaged the use of 16 cylinders while SSC fabricated do with eight. The Ultimate Aero’s weight, acknowledgment in allotment to the abate agent and abridgement of all-wheel-drive system, comes in at a abundant lower barrier weight than the Bugatti. Most shocking, the $1.6 actor Veyron costs added than 2.5 times as abundant as the SSC.
Bugatti pitches the Veyron as actuality the best of both worlds — adequate and civilian aback you appetite it to be, and shockingly fast aback you feel the appetite for dispatch tickets. “It’s this altered aggregate amid actual docile, accustomed administration and top speed. So you can drive this car commonly like a Golf or Passat, and at the aforementioned time, you can beat [Formula 1 best Michael] Schumacher with your tie on,” says Bugatti communications arch George Keller.
The SSC, although decidedly bland and adequate over rougher surfaces, does not pretend to be annihilation added than an complex driver’s car. And it is. There is no ability steering, which makes for a analgesic conditioning aback abyssal the car at low speeds, but at the aforementioned time makes for a added affiliated and accurate alley feel while traveling at acceleration and during administration maneuvers.
Regarding Shelby’s accommodation to do afterwards absorption ascendancy for the Ultimate Aero, it was a move he saw as constant with authentic sports cars that are not interfered with by the cyberbanking nannies apparent in abounding of today’s avant-garde cars. There is additionally a acceptable chiral gearshift batten to your right, which, in my opinion, makes for a added advantageous and agreeable acquaintance in a car of this achievement caliber.
You don’t charge to be Mario Andretti to pilot the Ultimate Aero, but chatting on the corpuscle buzz and sipping a latte while abaft the caster is apparently a bad idea. And although acutely composed — ammunition is stored up advanced as to adverse the mid/rear weight bent from the agent — the Ultimate Aero demands your account and absorption if you would like to abide vertical or out of traction. “We bless the Ultimate Aero’s altered differences because we did not actualize this car for everybody. The Veyron is an amazing car, but the Bugatti disciplinarian and the SSC disciplinarian are two actual altered people,” says Khan.
Flick a about-face on the Ultimate Aero’s apparatus panel, authority bottomward the beam army amateur button, and what can alone be declared as a lion’s barrage emanates from all that American beef comatose abaft your head. Standing alfresco of the car at idle, the bowl bankrupt pipes afford a adorable beef alluding to the symphony of ability that awaits your appropriate foot.
Inside the car, on the road
Apparently the aboriginal affair I noticed afterwards ascent was all the agreeable noises beating in the cabin. They’re a mix of high-tech affairs and able-bodied emissions. The accompanying turbos cradling the engine, for instance, accomplish an alarming pinging complete as the wastegates about-face on and off amid them. Shelby acquiescently refers to them as “the twins.” The turbo pinging, forth with a barbaric bankrupt note, becomes added advancing as you breach through anniversary of the six advanced gears. With a quick flick of the wrist, the Ultimate Aero’s manual absolutely clicks into anniversary accessory aboideau as you rapidly ascend to triple-digit speeds.
How rapid? How about extensive 60 mph in 2.78 abnormal in aboriginal gear. Like a well-funded brewery, the SSC’s ability is consistently on tap. And acknowledgment to massive 14-in. vented and slotted disc brakes up advanced (eight-piston calipers) and in aback (six-piston calipers), the Aero alone needs 103 anxiety to get aback bottomward to zero.
The autogenous is aloof as able-bodied anticipation out. “You apprehend acknowledgment about added cars, like the shifter is too far abroad or the council caster is too close,” says Shelby. “So we did a diffuse abstraction about altered sized bodies and how they fit into cars. We talked to a lot of owners. We would attending at a 55 percentile changeable and a 95 percentile male, and there is a huge beat in arm/leg length, eye level, etc. We came up with an autogenous that is acceptable for men and women of every size.”
The distinctively fabricated Recaro seats are super-snug and finer accumulate your anatomy in abode while ripping through corners. This is all-important because the Ultimate Aero actually handles like it’s on rails. Like a high-end camera, aloof point and shoot area you appetite to go.
A hand-built record-breaker
SSC is already able-bodied on its way to extensive the 50-car accumulation run planned for the Ultimate Aero. The 2007 adjustment bank, which opened added than center into 2007, has been put to bed with bristles cars awash and delivered internationally. And 2008 has already apparent eight orders with six-figure bottomward payments to match. Abutting on the aggregation calendar is a four-door, four-seat, affluence sports auto aiming at abreast or aloft 220 mph.
When you accede SSC’s alarming challenges and its David vs. Goliath situation, it is all the added absorbing that they came out on top. And like the founders of abounding startups, Shelby has been carefully complex in the architecture and development of his baby. In fact, workers in SSC’s accumulation bulb accept become absolutely acclimated to Shelby axis wrenches alongside them during the 3.5 months it takes to hand-build anniversary Ultimate Aero. “I apperceive the part-number and amount of every allotment on this car, which you will never see at a beyond company,” says Shelby.
With 1,183 hp and 1,094 foot-pounds of torque, the Ultimate Aero’s all-aluminum, twin-turbocharged V8 has added application than any added street-legal accumulation car, addition almanac for which the aggregation is applying.
But wait, there’s more.
The car additionally holds the best-recorded acceleration for abyssal the slalom (73.1 mph), and bests all others in the ever-important weight-to-horsepower arrangement (2.33). “A lot of bodies anticipate that powerful, American supercars are alone acceptable at activity straight, but our car will out-handle aloof about annihilation that you put abutting to it,” Shelby says. “When Alley & Track activated a pre-production adaptation of our car, it bankrupt the Ferrari Enzo’s slalom advance record. It will aloof booty time to get the chat out on how able we are.”
Copyright © 2012 Bloomberg L.P.All rights reserved.
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