Ultima Sports

General Specs:

– Tube frame rear-mid engine chassis

– Rover 4.8l all aluminium V8, dry sump

– Renault UN1 5 speed gearbox – extensively modified with hardened internals

– Approx 350hp at the flywheel

– 2,100lbs approximate wet weight

– Tires: 275x40x17 F; 315x35x17 R

About the car

This Ultima Sports Mk IV is the most entertaining car of any I have driven, the list of which includes many very good production sports cars and such race-only machinery as Radical SR3’s and Van Diemen Formula X’s as well as Barber Formula Dodge Pro Series cars. At it’s realitively modest power level of 350 or so hp, it has such brutal accerlation that the WMS Z06 absolutely pales in comparison. While the lighter formula cars certainly offer greater grip and nimbleness, the overall fun factor of the Ultima is much greater, imho.

There are a few videos of the car available through the video link at the left, if you’re interested. Now the cynical amongst you may be wondering, if the Ultima is so amazing to drive, why there are far more Z06 videos than Ultima videos? To that I can only say that the Ultima has led me to create what I will call Wurth’s First Theorem of Automotive Inversion: The amount of joy a car gives the driver when running is inversely proportional to the amount of time it will actually run.

Deviations from standard

Areas where this car is non-standard for an Ultima Sports are:

1) Suspension – The complete suspension on this car is heim jointed, aka rose-jointed, aka monoballed. It does, however, use the standard, single-adjustible Intrax dampers from the factory. It also has no anti-sway bars, as is standard on Ultimas.

2) Brakes – The WMS Ultima uses Brembo 4 pot racing calipers, as pictured here. These brakes have the best pedal feel of any car I’ve driven, by FAR.

3) Motor – Though the Rover V8 was a popular choice in the UK on earlier Ultimas (later the small-block Chevy took over), this is problably the only Rover-powered Ultima in the US. It is a race-built, dry sump motor, though as you can hear in the videos, it doesn’t rev above 6k.

4) Front clip – 17×275 tires will not fit on a standard Sports (they may on a GTR, but I don’t know). The front “fenders” have been raised and widened to accomodate the wider tires. The clip was also modified with louvres to extract air from the wheel wells and the radiator, as the front bodywork was raising about 3/4″ at high speeds. This modification was just done, and is not shown in the pictures of the car that do not show louvres.

5) Fuel Cell – This car has a 25 gal fuel cell in the passenger compartment. That may sound strange to people not familiar with race cars, but it’s actually not too unusual. What is a bit unusual is that this cell is so large and the space in the car is so small that the fuel cell doubles as the seat back. So, when you’re in the car you’re actually strapped to the fuel tank. It takes some getting used to…

6) Cooling – The WMS Ultima relies on a Paris-Dakar rally-spec radiator, two engine oil coolers and one transimission cooler.

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