Shelby Ultimate Aero zooms past Europe's Best

By Automotive Staff | October 15, 2007
We Americans like speed. So it shouldn't be surprising that an American car now holds the Guinness World Record for "Fastest Production Car." The car? The Shelby Supercars Ultimate Aero, or SSC Ultimate Aero. It reached a speed of 256.19 miles an hour on a remote highway in Washington in September, shattering the record held by the Swedish Koenigsegg CCR. However, identification of the Ultimate Aero as the world's fastest production car is being challenged by Bugatti which claims that its Veyron 16.4 had a run of 253.52 miles per hour. So far, Guinness does not recognize Bugatti's claim. What is surprising is that it is the first American car since 1967 to be so honored. The last American built production car to hold the Guinness record was the Ford GT40. Perhaps another surprise to some is that the driver, instead of a professional racecar driver, was, instead, a 71 year old auto enthusiast by the name of Chuck Bigelow. What made it possible for the Ultimate Aero to achieve the record is its twin-turbocharged V8 engine that generates 1,183 horsepower and 1094 lbs. - ft. of torque and its aerodynamics -- the car sits very low to the ground, so low in fact that there is a switch in the cabin that lifts the front four inches to help it navigate uneven surfaces. According to Jerod Shelby, owner of Shelby Supercars, the Ultimate Aero was in development for six years and it was specifically designed to become the fastest production car. So far seven cars have been sold at a price of $579,000 each. Fifty were produced. The company's next car, said Shelby, will be a 220 mile per hour four-door luxury car. Plans call for the car to be introduced in 2009. More details can be found at Forbes. Our take? Half a millions a bit expensive for our taste. We wouldn't mind, though, for media vehicles just for a week, though.