The List




The List


Ultima GTR


Life for the aspiring British supercar builder can be hard. Not only are you generally lumbered with a resolutely unromantic surname, usually prefixed with something even worse, like “Lee” or “Trevor”, after which to name your creation, (hardly suitable to compete with the Enzo Ferraris of the world) but you are also referred to, often derogatorily, as a ‘kit car manufacturer’ if you so much as go near a glass fibre panel.


But, despite these inherent disadvantages, and the highly volatile and fickle nature of the market for sports cars, there are a small number of companies in the UK that have actually managed to produce something special. Ultima is one of these.


The company’s main model, the GTR, is a perfect example of the maxim of form dictating function, yet unlike the recent brutalist creations from Maranello, the Ultima retains the fluid lines of a 1980s Le Mans racer. It is hard to imagine a car that would attract more attention when driven down your local high street, or perhaps more appropriately, at your local trackday.


But it is not merely aesthetics that have gained the GTR a place on The List; it is here primarily because it reconciles the binary oppositions that are supercars and the romance of the supercar. This may sound arcane, but the truth of the matter is that when Enzo Ferrari was producing his road cars merely to finance the Scuderia, the then nascent supercar was as rare as a Faberge egg. Only racing drivers and the odd film star could hope to own one. But in the last twenty years the supercar market has become democratised to such an extent that any half decent investment banker or footballer can afford to have one in his garage - less because of performance and more because of ostentation – resulting in a subsequent glamour nosedive.


The difference with the Ultima is not that it is so prohibitively expensive that it obviates the possibility of their falling into the wrong hands - the GTR is only marginally more expensive than a mid range BMW or Mercedes saloon – but it is because the car possesses qualities that are only appreciated by the connoisseur, a bit like a Romanee Conti sans the exorbitant price.

Explosive is, perhaps, an overused way to describe the GTR's performance, but it is accurate, nevertheless. Put it this way - in all gears bar top, a sudden sneeze, and an accidental snatch of throttle could quickly result in your being in another time zone, such is the enormous amount of thrust available in such a light vehicle. Fortunately, it has the handling and brakes to match, and in most specifications will be be quicker on track than anything that doesn't have big wings and slicks.

Ultimately, it may be spartan inside, on a hot day it may smell like a small dinghy, yet, here is a car that, in almost any spec, will make most supercars feel like hot hatches in comparison. Treat it with the utmost respect.