29 April 2022
‘Ultima’s story began in 1983, when Lee Noble, who would start Noble Automotive, founded Noble Motorsport and designed the Ultima Mk 1 race car. It had a square-tube space-frame chassis, the V-6 engine and transmission from a Renault 30, and other components borrowed from Ford, Lancia, and Austin.’
The Ultima Mk1 was born out of Lee’s passion and admiration for Le Mans Group C racing. From the company’s newspaper advertising in 1992, ‘The Ultima is designed to be the ultimate mid-engined road-going Sportscar in component form.’
A value that still holds true today.
The Ultima Mk 1 race car did not see the light of day. The Mk 2 became the car used for racing and was pretty successful as a race car, particularly when Ted Marlow fitted a Chevrolet small-block V8.
In 1992, Ted Marlow purchased the entire Ultima Brand along with the rights, intellectual property, jigs and moulds for the Ultima Mk2 and Ultima Mk3 from Noble Motorsport Ltd, turning his passion and hobby into a new business venture.
Noble Motorsport launched a Mk 3 version with a new body. McLaren bought two of them and used them as testbeds for their F1 supercar, undergoing development. One car, nicknamed Edward, was even fitted with the F1’s BMW-sourced V-12. After testing was complete, McLaren had both cars destroyed.
Now to the present, a new flagship, the Ultima RS, was unveiled at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The RS can accept a variety of engines, with the most powerful a tuned version of the LT5 6.2-litre supercharged V-8 from the C7 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, producing 1,200 hp, a 0-60 mph time of 2.3 seconds, and a 250-mph top speed.
From the company’s website, ‘While we are happy to build a car for you, the majority of our customers prefer to assemble their car at home, and for 75% of these, this will be their first-ever build.’
Ultima Sports have released a documentary chronicling its 39-year history; it is fascinating and deserves watching.