It's no Veyron, but does claim to offer a higher top speed, and costs 'only' £335k
  • First Drive

    SSC Ultimate Aero TT

    It's no Veyron, but does claim to offer a higher top speed, and costs 'only' £335k
23 July 2007

What is it?

Possibly the world’s fastest production car. Never mind the Bugatti Veyron, because SSC, a small manufacturer based in Washington, US, is now turning out the Ultimate Aero TT, and its twin-turbocharged Corvette V8 motor punches out 1183bhp. That’s more power than any road car, ever. It’s been tested to a gentle 230mph so far, but the prediction is that 273mph should be the car’s maximum.

The engine started life as a Corvette 5.7-litre LS6 small-block V8. In standard 2004 spec that makes around 405bhp and 400lb ft. This version has an extra 676cc and two turbos for its 1183bhp and 1094lb ft.

The SSC’s body is entirely carbonfibre, features a flat undertray with twin venturi tunnels and weighs just under 60kg. Within that there’s a steel box-sectioned spaceframe chassis. Front suspension is conventional double wishbones, while the rear features an upper rocker arm with lower wishbone and an anti-roll bar.

What's it like?

We couldn’t help but love the Aero TT’s blue paint, but the body looks like something from the mid-1990s, with noticeable variances in some panel gaps. There are echoes of Zonda at the front and Diablo at the sides, while at the rear function has priority over form.

The interior leaves much to be desired, but it’s easy to get in and out. The seats are supportive and the driving position suited to a six-footer, apart from the front wheelarch intruding into the footwell.

Press the red button in the overhead roof console and this car’s intentions become overwhelmingly apparent. Something resembling a controlled nuclear explosion takes place as the V8 bursts into life. This start-up extravaganza lasts a couple of seconds before the engine settles into a satisfying burble.

Despite massive torque the TT is eager, so it either sets off like a dragster or stalls. Despite the brochure claiming that the car has power steering, we didn’t notice any assistance, and manoeuvring at parking speeds requires sheer physical strength. Once rolling, though, it becomes more friendly.

The big Michelins grip tenaciously and the chassis feels suitably rigid (as does the ride). But we can only guess how the car might behave when driven hard on a track. With so much power, rear-wheel drive and no electronic traction aids, expertise and prudence would be needed.

And then there’s the horsepower. It’s close to terrifying on a normal A-road, and all the while there’s a palpable sense of the almost infinite urge lying in reserve. Fortunately the car can potter along on barely any throttle in a tall gear without drivetrain snatch.

Although the TT can serve up salt flats-shrinking speed, the brakes on this particular car are something of a mystery. The brochure states that eight-piston calipers should be fitted at the front, but this one had four-pot units. The pedal pressure required is inordinately high, with almost no feel or power.

Should I buy one?

You could argue that around £335k is a ludicrous sum of money for a left-hand-drive car with no heritage, dated appearance, build quality on a par with a 1980s TVR and all the luxury of a small Malaysian hatchback.

But the Ultimate Aero is more powerful and potentially faster than a Veyron, while costing less than half as much. And since when did all-American muscle have to dress up like posh European caristocracy?

Tom Stewart

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