SSC North America, formerly known as Shelby SuperCars, has been working on a successor for the SSC Ultimate Aero. A concept of the successor was unveiled at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, but due to unknown reasons, the final car has yet to make into production. Seven years after the concept at the same place and event, SSC North America is unveiling to the public the final form of this concept as it goes into production – the new SSC Tuatara.
The new SSC Tuatara is named after a greenish-brown and gray lizard – which can only be found in New Zealand -- known for having the fastest molecular evolution for any living animal. The SSC Tuatara unveiled at Pebble Beach was also wrapped in similar grayish color. Underneath this wrapped is a body and a chassis all made from carbon fiber. Moreover, the 20-inch wheels of the Tuatara are also made from carbon fiber. By employing carbon fiber, SSC North America is able to make Tuatara a lightweight hypercar with a dry weight of just 2,750 lbs. (1,247 kg).
The use of carbon fiber also paved way for a wind-cheating, aerodynamically superior curvy design. The incredibly sporty overall looks of the new SSC Tuatara hypercar is penned by Jason Castriota, a former designer at Pininfarina. The design of the new Tuatara takes inspiration from the aerospace industry. This design gave the hypercar a low drag coefficient value of just 0.279 Cd – the lowest in its class.
In terms of dimensions, the new SSC Tuatara measures 174.4 inches (4.42 meters) in length, 78.4 inches (2 meters) in width, and 43 inches (1.1 meters) in height, with 105.2 inches (2.67 meters) of wheelbase. The sleek, low and wide body of the Tuatara rides on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires measuring 245/35 at the front and 345/25 on the rear.
As for power source, the new SSC Tuatara is served by a twin-turbo 5.9-liter V8 engine in a flat-plane crank configuration. Designed by SSC North America, this V8 engine was engineered and assembled in collaboration with Nelson Racing Engines. With a redline of 8,800 rpm, this mill can deliver up to 1,350 hp when fueled with premium unleaded gasoline (91 Octane Fuel) or up to 1,750 hp on flex fuel (E85 Fuel). The mid-mounted engine sends power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed “computerized manual” gearbox with a robotic shift system.
Given its low weight, superior power, exceptional aerodynamics, the Tuatara is expected to become of the quickest and fastest street-legal cars. SSC North America is confident that the Tuatara can reach top speeds of more than 300 mph -- with a margin of error. If the Tuatara is able to reach 300 mph, it will become the fastest production car, a record currently help by a Koenigsegg Agera RS (277.87 mph).
SSC North America is already accepting pre-orders for the new Tuatara. The carmaker plans to build the new hypercar at a new production facility (currently under construction) in West Richland, Washington, for a limited production run of 100 units.