|Production||2001 - present|
|Body Style||Two-door cabriolet|
|Transmission||5-speed Manual, rear-wheel drive|
|Engine||5.7 litre Chevrolet V8 by American Speed Enterprises|
The Ultima Spyder had become a legend in British circles, but had a reputation for being a bit of an animal, due to absolutely minimal weather protection. In 2000, Ultima announced the model's replacement with the Can-Am, designed in the spirit of the hallowed race series. The car was essentially a cabriolet version of the Ultima GTR, but the conversion required a lot more engineering work than just lopping off the roof.
Out With the Old, In With the NewEdit
The Ultima engineers and designers were given the brief that the Spyder replacement 'should be undertaken with a view to increasing aerodynamic downforcem enhancing the engineering integrity, complying with the latest regulations and improving the ease of build. . .over the Spyder'. A tough task to follow indeed, but by early 2000, the team was hard at work.
Using a Spyder kit as a base, the team realised that in order to make the Can-Am a more civilised proposition, a fixed windscreen would have to be put in place instead of the small wind deflector found on the Spyder. The fixed screen would allow a fully waterproof hood to be installed, something which had been noticeably missing from the Spyder. The bodywork of the Can-Am benefitted from the modifications made to the GTR, but with a slightly lower rear-end to improve aerodynamic proficiency. The structural rigidity of the Can-Am was always exceptional for a drop-top, due to the Ultima being designed from the outset as a spaceframe chassis, but Ultima felt that extra rigidity should be dialled in, to future-proof the car against power or torque increases. To do this, a new rollcage was devised, incorporating new body mounts, and the front and rear bulkheads were redesigned, and the door frames were slightly modified. The finished product was just as rigid as its fixed head brother.
Despite the promise of a soft-top hood for the Can-Am, it didn't actually arrive until 2002. The hood was designed in-house, custom-fitted to the Can-Am's distinctive shape. A Can-Am with a hood can be given away by the full-size laminated windscreen - without which the roof would not fit. However, the Can-Am was also fitted with a detachable windscreen system, meaning that a wind-deflector can be fitted during summer, and a windscreen in winter without expensive one-way modification.
The Can-Am is powered by the same range of American Speed Enterprises tuned Chevy V8s, with power being transmitted to the road via Porsche's venerable G50 gearbox. However, as world supplies for the G50 gearbox dwindle (due to increasing demand by those pesky Porsche enthusiasts) Ultima face an interesting future in appointing a new gearbox worthy of the car.
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|Ted Marlow||Corporate Website||independent|