Jerod Shelby founded Shelby Super Cars. The brand is perhaps better known for its replicas of exotic cars. But by creating the SSC Ultimate Aero, Shelby managed to create a legend of his own.
In 2004 a prototype based on a Lamborghini Diablo replica chassis was equipped with a Corvette C5R engine and the same 6 speed manual gearbox from the Dodge Viper. This eventually led to the birth of the SSC Aero in 2006.
The SSC Ultimate Aero is a better, modified version of the Aero. On September 13, 2007, the SSC Ultimate Aero made a run for the record. It reached an average top speed of 265 mph, enough to obtain the world record it held for almost 3 years until the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport hit 267 mph. Truth be told, the Volkswagen Group built the Veyron Super Sport for the explicit purpose of winning the record back. That alone is a great testament to the awesomeness of the SSC Ultimate Aero. To which Jerod Shelby said “No, our new car isn’t a response to Bugatti, because we didn’t know they’d break the record again. But their timing is exactly right for us as we’re about to launch the car that will get it back.” That’s confidence.
With that same confidence, an increase of 15% in horsepower was added by the Shelby Super Car team to the 2009 Ultimate Aero, along with a revamped front fascia design as well as a list of interior upgrades. Of the changes, most notable is an SSC designed 1-piece billet aluminum engine block. This is a milestone for the limited production automobile manufacturer. The new block improves the structural integrity as well as the oiling capabilities. This allowed the SSC to boost the power output to 1287 horsepower while simultaneously improving durability.
It might be realistic to think that a car that was designed with the main purpose being speed would be skimpy with the amenities. That’s just not the case with the SSC Ultimate Aero. The interior is leather and suede and comes with air conditioning and a ten speaker audio system. The navigation system is complete with a rear-view camera, important since there’s no rear-view mirror on the windshield.
The SSC has an amazing potential that just can’t be denied. With a history of once being the world’s ultimate car, the SSC Ultimate Aero will remain one of the best super cars to ever have existed.
In July of 2011 Shelby Super Cars announced that the successor to the Ultimate Aero would be named the Tuatara. In November of that same year SSC North America, announced a new corporate identity strategy which more clearly identifies itself as a North American super car manufacturer.
Jerod Shelby, Founder and Lead Designer, said “We have always wanted to focus on the pride associated with being an American built supercar and the timing is right. We have previously launched the Tuatara in both Shanghai and Pebble Beach and these two events in Dubai and Macau ensure the appropriate branding we are hoping to achieve for our company worldwide.”
That’s a laudable goal to have. But besting the speed of the Veyron Super Sport probably wouldn’t hurt too much either.