History

1983
 
·  
 Lee Noble, acclaimed automotive engineer and designer, sets up Noble Motorsport Ltd and launches the Ultima Mk1.
·  
The Ultima Mk1 had a square tube space frame chassis, Ford Cortina front uprights/brakes/steering, Austin Princess radiator and Renault front uprights/brakes on the rear. The V6 engine and transmission were taken from a Renault 30.
   
   
   
   

1984-8
 
·  
Before any cars were sold the Ultima Mk2 was developed using 99% of the Ultima Mk1 demonstrator car which replaced the problematic Renault rear suspension with Noble Motorsports own alloy uprights which were machined to accept a Renault wheel bearing and Lancia Beta rear brakes.

 

 

 
 
   
 
  
·  
The Ultima MK2 is featured in a promotional article and photo-shoot in Sports Car Monthly Magazine alongside a genuine Porsche 956 race car.

   
·  
Ted Marlow becomes Noble Motorsports first customer for an Ultima by purchasing an Ultima Mk2 with Ford 3.1litre V6 Essex power.
·  
Ted Marlow's Ultima Mk 2:
 
   
 
·  
Lee Noble and Ted Marlow promoting the cars in a photo shoot at Newark market centre:

 

 

 
 
·  
Lee Noble and Ted Marlow go on to race their cars in a race series sponsored by Ted Marlow's Civil Engineering company.
·  
Ted Marlow's Ultima Mk 2 at Mallory:

   
·  
Ted Marlow cutting Lee Noble off at the Mallory Park hairpin in a debate over 1st and 2nd positions:

 

 

 
 
·  
After race discussion between Ted Marlow (front) and Lee Noble (rear) several races later once the red mist had lifted:

   
·  
Lee Noble goes on to win the series.
·  
Ted Marlow re-engineers his Ultima Mk2 to accept a small block Chevrolet V8 coupled to a four speed Porsche transaxle along with revised suspension and bodywork:

 

 

 
 
·  
Ted Marlow fits a small block Chevrolet V8 Formula 5000 based engine into his Ultima Mk2:

   
·  
Ted Marlow decides to modify the rear bodywork of his Ultima Mk2:

 

 

 
  
·  
Ted Marlow's Ultima Mk2 records many race wins in a race series now sponsored by Forwell Designs:

   
·  
Ted Marlow wins at Oulton Park in heavy rain:

   
·  
Ted Marlow builds a small block Chevrolet 377cu ins (6.2litre) V8 using a bowtie block and Kinsler injection to give a higher torque figure and improve corner exit speeds:

 

 

 
  
·  
A TOTAL OF ONLY 13 ULTIMA MK2 VEHICLES WERE SOLD WORLDWIDE.

1989-91
 
·  
Noble Motorsport Ltd commission a new Ultima body to be designed by an aluminium-rolling specialist that was formed in alloy sheet prior to the fibreglass moulds being taken. This shape becomes the Ultima Mk3.
·  
The Ultima Mk2 production ceases.
·  
Noble Motorsport Ltd designs a new space frame chassis and the Ultima Mk3 is launched still only offered with V6 Renault power and donor parts:

   
·  
An Ultima Spyder prototype is built by Noble Motorsport Ltd in race form only:

   
·  
Other customers copy Ted Marlow's philosophy and fit small block Chevrolet V8 engines into their Ultima race cars:

   
·  
Chevrolet V8 powered Ultima cars dominate races for five years. Taking championship victories every season.
·  
Ultima cars hold the outright lap record for any car on road tyres (race regulations stipulated only road tyres could be used) on every circuit they race on.
·  
Ted Marlow's Ultima Mk2 leads an Ultima Mk3 and Ultima Spyder prototype into the Mallory Park hairpin on lap one and go on to record yet another Ultima 1-2-3 victory:

   
·  
Ultima Mk2 and an Ultima Mk3 lead the race:

   
·  
Ultima Mk3 and Ultima Spyder prototype start race on the front row of the grid again at Cadwell Park:

   
·  
Ultima Spyder prototype at Cadwell Park going on to win the race:

   
·  
The Ultima marque would often lap the entire field in a race at least once.

1991
 
·  
Ultima effectively banned from racing for being too quick and therefore deemed unfair to other competitors.
·  
Ted Marlow purchases an Ultima Mk3 in component form for road use:

 

 

 
  
·  
Ted Marlow builds a Renault V6 with 260bhp that came with his Ultima Mk3 kit and sells the engine on:

 

 

 
  
·  
And re-engineers his entire Ultima Mk3 kit to accept a small block Chevrolet 350cu ins (5.7litre) V8 with Motec injection coupled to a Porsche 4 speed transaxle:

 

 

 
   
 
 
1991
 
·  
The TAG McLaren Group purchase two Ultima Mk3 kits from Noble Motorsport Ltd.
·  
McLaren were attracted to the Ultima by the excellent engineering, outright speed, lap times and the racing prowess of the Ultima Mk2/3 so this was the car of choice to use as prototypes during the development of the world’s most expensive and prestigious road car- the McLaren F1. The fact that the Ultima was actually well under the design weight of the proposed F1 and proportionally very similar was also a factor in the decision.
·  
Noble Motorsport Ltd supplied chassis number 12 and 13, which were the last of the thirteen Ultima Mk3 cars that the company sold. Chassis number 12 christened Albert by the McLaren group was used to test the new gearbox using a Chevrolet V8 engine to mimic the torque of the BMW V12 and various other components like the central driving position and carbon brakes. Chassis number 13 which went under the name of Edward was used to test the BMW designed V12 engine along with all its ancillaries such as the exhaust and cooling system. Both bodies were heavily modified to suit the many components under test.
·  
Albert and Edward were so useful during the development of the F1 that they became known as the heavenly twins and even merited having their own badge design.
·  
Albert:

 

 

 
 
·  
Edward:

 

 

 
  
·  
Albert and Edward were crucial to the development of the F1 and these two McLaren prototypes were later destroyed as the specialist magazines were still offering a fortune for sneak preview pictures:

 

 

 
 
1992
 
·  
Ted Marlow purchases the rights, jigs and moulds for the Ultima Mk2 and Ultima Mk3 from Noble Motorsport Ltd.
·  
Total Ultima sales to date under the ownership of Lee Noble between 1983 and 1992 is 26 including a total of 13 Mk3 kits.
·  
This is the end of any involvement in the future development of the Ultima by Lee Noble.
·  
The company called Ultima Sports Ltd was formed by Ted and Richard Marlow based in premises at Long Itchington, Warwickshire.
·  
The company goal was to produce a complete affordable supercar to be supplied in component form to an exceptional quality utilising all new purpose designed components for home assembly and that it would primarily be a road car. No donor parts from breakers yards were to be used again.
·  
Not only would be the Ultima be capable of being faster than any other road car available but the design was to allow a relatively easy form of construction that would enable customers with no previous experience to build their own supercar at a fraction of the cost of any others.
·  
A major feature was to emulate the format and hence ease of build adopted by radio control model car manufacturers.
·  
Ted Marlow's Ultima Mk3 was used as a demonstrator in the meantime and as a development car:

 
  
·  
New chassis jig made to incorporate the fitting of the Chevrolet engine, Porsche transaxle, twin fuel tanks, steering system, cooling system, pedals, gear change, suspension, seats and body fixings.
·  
Base of jig:

   
·  
All major components were designed from scratch to suit a small block Chevrolet and Porsche transaxle in order to productionise the car.

   
·  
The new company introduced a revised design to make the Ultima more road orientated and civilised including a five speed Porsche G50 transaxle, an air conditioning option, improved headlights, luggage compartments, gas ram assisted doors, weather seals, lockable doors, handbrake, adjustable suspension, improved ride quality, provision in loom for CD player etc., wiper system, fog lights and trim options.
  
 
·  
Due to all the fundamental changes and improvements over the Ultima Mk3 a new model designated the Ultima Sports is launched.

 

 

 
 
·  
The order book of Ultima Sports Ltd is officially opened.

1993
 
·  
Ultima Sports Ltd relocates to new premises in Hinckley, Leicestershire to support increase in demand.
·  
Left hand drive Ultima Sports developed and announced for worldwide export.
 
 
·  
First Ultima sale to the USA:

 
 
·  
Work starts on the Ultima Spyder. Only one prototype race Spyder had been produced at this stage by Noble Motorsport Ltd and a great deal of re-design had to be incorporated before it would be ready to launch. The same sort of development went on that the Ultima Sports went through but the different shape dictated a novel door opening design, tonneau, rear bulkhead, wind deflector and roll bar.

 

 

 
 
 
      
·  
Ultima Spyder launched as a budget build utilising Rover 3.5litreV8 power and a Renault UN1 transaxle:

 

 

 
     
·  
The Ultima is tested in the wind tunnel at MIRA to aid future development of the marque:

 
 
·  
Integral rear wing designed for the Ultima Sports and Ultima Spyder.

 
   
·  
The Ultima Spyder was then tested in the wind tunnel:

   
·  
Wind deflector working:
   
·  
First customer turnkey car supplied.

 
   

1994
 
·  
Small block Chevrolet 350 cu ins (5.7litre) V8 engine installed in Ultima Spyder due to customer demand instead of the Rover 3.5litre V8:

 
 

1995
 
·  
Ultima Sports bodywork produced in carbon fibre as a one off design exercise. The high cost of this form of construction did not warrant the carbon body option to be supplied in the kit so this project was abandoned:

   

1996
 
·  
Jonathon Palmer ex F1 driver and chief test driver for the McLaren F1 purchases an Ultima Sports for his own use:

 
  

1997
 
·  
Number of Ultimas sold by Ultima Sports Ltd reaches 150.

1998
 
·  
Ultima Sports Ltd move to new larger custom built premises across the road from the old factory unit in Hinckley, Leicestershire.

 

1998
 
·  
Work starts on designing and building a new model to replace the Ultima Sports designated the Ultima GTR. The design changes were undertaken with a view to increasing the aerodynamic down force, enhancing the engineering integrity, complying with the latest regulations and improving the ease of build for home assembly over that of the Ultima Sports. Basically the Ultima GTR was to be a much more refined car with a greater performance potential than the Ultima Sports that it was to replace.
·  
The bodywork was designed in house to full scale. Many lines were tried before the final shape was established.
  
 
 
Too sharp:
Too smooth:

 

 

 
 
 
Too smooth:
Getting there:

 

 

 
 
 
Nope:
Front is progressing nicely:

 
 
 
Shape of front almost there:
Two steps back:

 
 
 
Doors and centre section reshaped:
At last we are happy with
the rear:

 
 
 
Back section ready for
moulds to be taken:
Front section ready for
moulds to be taken:

 

 

 
 

1999
 
·  
Ultima start building their own wheels:

   
·  
An Ultima Sports wins the modern category of the Targa Tasmania race. This race is regarded as the toughest tarmac road rally in the world covering over 2000kms in six days:

   
·  
Ultima GTR launched at the Stafford show:

   
·  
During development the Ultima GTR was tested at the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) using their extensive testing facilities:

 

 

 
    
·  
Due to the impressive figures recorded at MIRA by the Ultima GTR it was shown on their stand at the NEC Autosports Show as a demonstration of their testing facilities:

   
·  
New high quality body panel design launched in polished GRP with a flawless finish that does not require painting that is unique in the automotive world.

   
·  
American Speed Enterprises based in Moline, Illinois, USA become the recommended engine suppliers:

   

2000
 
·  
An Ultima GTR was built with carbon fibre bodywork for evaluation purposes. This form of construction was again not commercially viable due to the exceptional quality of the standard gel coat bodywork not requiring a heavy paint system that saves weight and cost:

   

 

2000
 
·  
Work starts on designing and building a new model to replace the Ultima Spyder designated the Ultima Can-Am. The design changes were undertaken with a view to increasing the aerodynamic down force, enhancing the engineering integrity, complying with the latest regulations and improving the ease of build for home assembly over that of the Ultima Spyder. Basically the Ultima Can-Am was to be a much more refined car with a greater performance potential than the Ultima Spyder that it was to replace.
·  
A key feature was the development of a system for quickly changing from the wind deflector to a full glass windscreen. The full screen option would make it possible to later design and fit a soft-top option.
  
 
·  
Rear body section shaped:

   
·  
Door opening increased:

   
·  
New wind deflector:

   
·  
Vertical opening doors designed:

   
·  
Overall shape nearly there:

   
·  
New rear canopy shape finalised:

   
·  
Wing position sorted:

   
·  
New front bulkhead and dash in one unit:

   
·  
First complete body taken from the new moulds:

   

2001
 
·  
Richard Marlow test drives an Ultima GTR across the USA.

   
·  
Ultima Can-Am launched with new left hand drive and right hand drive versions first shown at the Stoneleigh show.

 
 
·  
Ultima Can-Am has the full laminated glass windscreen option fitted for street legality in the USA:

 
 

2002
 
·  
Ultima Can-Am soft-top is designed and launched:

 

 

 
   

2003
 
·  
Total Ultima sales reach over 400.
   

2004
 
·  
Ultima Sports Ltd demolishes the 0-100mph-0-world record with a standard production specification 640bhp Ultima GTR driven by Richard Marlow creating a huge media frenzy and a worldwide stir in the automotive world.

   
·  
The new 0-100mph-0 world record included the setting of new road car world speed records for accelerating from 0-60mph and 0-100mph.

 
 

2005
 
·  
Ultima GTR640 launched and several world records established. Officially verified as the world’s fastest supercar.

   
·  
World speed road car records smashed include 0-60mph, 0-100mph, 0-150mph, 30-70mph, 0-100mph-0, 100mph-0 braking, skidpad lateral g cornering and terminal speed achieved on Bruntingthorpe airfield.

 
 
·  
Ultima GTR640 appears at the MPH Motor Show in the live arena as a main attraction and performs an indoor acceleration record during which all world speed records are endorsed by Top Gear TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson who deems the Ultima GTR640 "An amazing car that holds virtually every road car world speed record in existence".

 
 
·  
Ultima Sports Ltd have achieved their goal and even surpassed some of their original expectations. The Ultima GTR and Ultima Can-Am that are the current models are the result of an enormous amount of development. These models are now established and no further re-design is being considered apart from of course a natural introduction of minor improvements into the future.
·  
The company is adamant that the stability of the marque will be maintained so that existing and future customers will always be building the current model.

2006
 
·  
Ultima GTR720 launch.

   
·  
Richard Marlow sets a 0-100mph-0 world record for the third year in succession in the new Ultima GTR720 demonstrator, setting a catalogue of new road car acceleration world speed records in the process.

   
·  
Richard Marlow sets a new standing quarter mile production car record in the Ultima GTR720 demonstrator.

   

2007
 
·  
New Chevrolet LS Ultima Engine Package range designed and introduced, including the Chevrolet LS1, LS2, LS3, LS6 and LS7 engine options from 345bhp-800bhp. These comply with the latest worldwide emission regulations.

 
  
·  
New LED rear light package introduced.

   
·  
Ultima GTR720 demonstrator smashes Top Gear TV Lap Record by almost 5 seconds creating a huge worldwide stir.

 
 

2008
 
·  
Nurburgring outright road car lap record attempted in the Ultima GTR720 demonstrator creating a huge avalanche of media attention whilst at the Ring as news of the lap record attempt leaked out to the press and spread across the worldwide web. Unfortunately abandoned due to a torrential downpour on the day that the track was exclusively hired. Declared by pro Ring driver Tom Coronel during public testing on the Nurburgring as "The most powerful and by far the fastest road car I have ever driven. It's an absolute missile and a huge buzz to drive! The great balance, power and sensational braking make this car staggeringly fast around the track. The guys at Ultima Sports have a product which is a very special machine indeed, and I'm confident that I can set a new outright Nurburgring lap record time in the Ultima GTR720."

 

 

 
     
·  
New additional quieter silencer box option designed and developed to comply with the latest stringent track day noise limits.

 
 

2009
 
·  
Ultima GTR720 demonstrator obliterates Michael Schumacher's £1million Ferrari FXX Top Gear Track Lap time which creates a deluge of attention as the video evidence spreads across the worldwide web.

 
     
·  
Sales continue strongly with Ultima Sports Ltd going from strength to strength despite the worldwide recession.
2010
 
·  
This year saw the development of various components to enable the latest Porsche 996 & 997 series manual transaxles to be used in the Ultima as well as several upgrades to existing components that were also designed and tested.
·  
LS Engine to 996-transaxle adaptor plate system
·  
LS Engine to 997-transaxle adaptor plate system
·  
LS Engine to 996-transaxle flywheel

 

 

·  
LS Engine to 997-transaxle flywheel
 
 
·  
LS Engine to 996-transaxle cable bracketry
·  
LS Engine to 997-transaxle cable bracketry
·  
LS Engine to 996-transaxle mountings
·  
LS Engine to 997-transaxle mountings
·  
Up-rated clutch sourced and tested for 996-transaxle
·  
Up-rated clutch sourced and tested for 997-transaxle
·  
Side screen conformity marking introduced
·  
Tether system designed for fuel caps

   
·  
6 off new rear light mounting moulds designed and manufactured to accept the LED style rear lights
·  
Redesign LS Engine Exhaust system to accept bolt in cats with flanges rather than weld in versions
·  
Redesign LS Engine exhaust system to fit the LS3 heads that are marginally different in angle to LS7 heads
·  
New Pirelli tyres sourced and tested

 

·  
New up-rated dampers designed, sourced and tested
   
·  
New chassis VIN plate designed
·  
Brake lines redesigned in poly-coated stainless steel

   
·  
Design and test LS Engine fuel surge tank system

   
·  
Larger capacity battery option introduced for LS Engines
·  
New bracket designed for large battery

   
·  
New clear indicator side repeaters sourced and tested

   
·  
New gel coat colour option in Kawasaki Green introduced after weather testing

   
 
 
·  
New drawings introduced for LS engines fitment
·  
Further development to the LS Engine wiring loom in conjunction with American Speed
·  
Quieter LS engine fuel pump sourced and tested
·  
Lower friction custom made front bottom ball joints sourced

   

 

2010-2013
 
·  
Ultima Sports Ltd continues to flourish, the Ultima GTR and Ultima Can-Am are attracting interest in new emerging worldwide markets including Russia, China, Brazil and the Middle East to name a few, resulting in increased demand.
 
   
·  
We were approached by The Microsoft Corporation and this resulted in the Ultima being included in the world renowned Forza 4 Motorsport computer game, which has helped to gain huge worldwide recognition for our brand.

 
 
   
   
·  
The Australian road registration rules regarding the Ultima are finalised, resulting in a new growing market for our products aligned with some recommended Australian point of contacts for our customers.

 
 
·  
The 1/12th scale Ultima GTR and Ultima Can-Am model RC cars are developed and launched.

 
  
·  
Ultima baseball caps designed and offered along with the Ultima model cars in a new merchandising section of our website.

   
·  
Air con face vent kit introduced.

 

 

 
 
·  
New style high flow quieter 3rd exhaust silencer option is developed. It has been developed to fit the full transaxle range used on an Ultima
i.e. the G50 type, 996 and 997 transaxles in conjunction with the LS or SBC engines unlike our previous version that fitted G50 applications only. This additional silencer has been a belt and braces approach to satisfy even the most stringent noise test regulations in all countries.

 

 

 
 
·  
New clear front indicator option introduced.

   
·  
LS Engine PCV Oil Breather System option introduced.

 

 

 
 
·  
Sales surge in Germany for the Ultima GTR and Ultima Can-Am.

 
 
·  
30th year Ultima celebration (1983-2013) takes place with the first Ultima ever produced. Lee Noble is reunited with the first ever Ultima produced during this event. Notably not one single component is the same on a modern day Ultima GTR or Ultima Can-Am as on this old model which demonstrates the vast scale of development undertaken by Ultima Sports Ltd in the pursuit of excellence.

 

 

 
  
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
·  
An extended pedal box option is introduced for the GTR and Can-Am which opens up the Ultima to drivers up to 6ft 10” tall.

   
·  
New lightweight aluminium radiator option is introduced.

   
·  
The Ultima GTR and Ultima Can-Am chassis is improved substantially with a redesign and update in 2013, resulting in a chassis with improved torsional rigidity and occupant safety to market leading standards.
Richard and Ted Marlow commented:
"The updated chassis is part of our continual development process to keep the Ultima at the forefront of our market. The old chassis is still absolutely sound in all areas as we have already proved with record breaking performance figures but we have now significantly improved the torsional rigidity and safety to take the Ultima to a new level.
The new GTR chassis features a larger diameter fully welded roll cage as standard rather than the bolt on rearward braced version and the rear bulkhead is fabricated in aluminium instead of GRP.


Also incorporated is the introduction of new twin luggage containers designed as structural members that will increase cockpit rigidity. Keen Ultima observers and owners will be able to spot the numerous differences compared to the old chassis.
We have tested the torsional rigidity of the new design extensively on our rig here at the Ultima factory and we are totally confident that this new chassis design is at the very forefront of our market segment.
The new chassis brings the weight of a complete Ultima GTR fitted with the LS7 engine and air con, leather interior, wing etc. to just 919kg, giving a market leading power to weight ratio.
The changes will not be available as a retrofit item to the old style chassis but all customers with currently pending new chassis orders will receive this new design of chassis."