Fans of a pokey little English motoring show called Top Gear might remember a moment on the show over a decade ago when the three blokes from the show tried to pronounce the names of a couple of upcoming hypercars. The first name to be mangled was the Pagani Huayra and the other was the SSC Tuatara.
While the Pagani has been outed for a while now and gotten the proper pronunciation, the SSC (in production guise) has just broken cover and what a thing this is. For the unfamiliar, SSC stands for Shelby SuperCars and the Tuatara isn’t their first car but rather the successor to the Ultimate Aero. The company only plans to produce 100 examples, which is completely fine considering this car’s seven-figure price tag.
The only thing more insane than this car’s sticker price is what lies beneath that wild and outrageous body. Given that its predecessor held the Guinness World Record from 2007 to 2010 for being the world fastest production car, the Tuatara has some big shoes to fill.
For starters, the Tuatara is powered by a 5.9-litre V8 that produces 1,305kW when applied with E85 fuel and 1,007kW when run on 91 octane petrol. The 219kg SSC twin-turbocharged block – which redlines at 8,800rpm – makes a scarcely believable 1,735Nm of torque. The insane, bespoke engineered engine is mated to a CIMA-sourced seven-speed automated manual transmission that’s capable of swapping cogs in less than 100 milliseconds when in Track Mode.
Given the immense tower of power, the Tuatara is almost certain to leave flaming rails on the street in its wake – Back To The Future style. Pop culture reference aside, the company hasn’t revealed any official figures for the car, but it has previously claimed that it’s targeting a top speed of 482km/h or 300mph in old English.
Apart from the massive artillery under the bonnet, the Tuatara has a dry weight of 1,247kg which is thanks to the aerospace-grade carbon composite materials used in the body and chassis’ construction. When talking about achieving immense speeds, aerodynamics is a huge part of that equation. Intensive wind tunnel testing reveals the Tuatara to have a drag coefficient of just 0.279 which allows it to slip through the air while being as slippery as possible. It also sports active aerodynamics to keep things in check at speed.
Furthermore, the SSC gets a variable suspension setup which means this car has the rare ability to transform itself at the push of a button. It can completely alter the suspension, ride height, handling, acceleration, shifting, and overall drivability depending on the mode the driver has it in, claimed the company. In Sports Mode, the car’s ride height is set at 102mm up front and 114mm at the back, while Track Mode slams it to 70mm in front and 82mm out back. As with most low-slung speed machines, the front axle is equipped with Lift Mode, which raises the front axle by an additional 40mm which makes it a tad easier to clear bumps and ramps.
Inside, there are creature comforts such as premium audio, side cameras for blind spot monitoring, full time rear view camera, sequential shift lights, climate control and a touchscreen infotainment system which allows access to driving modes, vehicle diagnostics, entertainment etc. The dihedral or ‘butterfly’ opening doors is hydraulically operated for ease of use. SSC says passengers as tall as 195cm (6'5") will fit comfortably in the cabin, even with a race helmet on.
SSC North America most likely has the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ in its sights given the aforementioned specifications. Just like the French-built hypercar the all-American Tuatara will have a seven-figure price tag, even though official pricing hasn’t been revealed.
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