Amazing, Blazing Fast Facts About the SSC Tuatara

Since 2020 the SCC Tuatara has been tearing race tracks across the nation. These vehicles are built for speed and only 100 of each model are made, making them unique and prized. We are going to explore facts about the SSC Tuatara in the following article.

Who Makes the SSC Tuatara?

Over a decade of research has gone into the SSC Tuatara. The maker of the vehicle is SSC North America, which was founded by Jerod Shelby, who is the founder and owner of the company. Jerod Shelby had great success with the SSC Ultimate Aero vehicle, which received an award as the Fastest Production Car in the World from 2007 until 2010. This set forth the goal to create an even faster vehicle.

The Tuatara entered the market at the Philadelphia Auto Show in February 2020. The Tuatara hypercar was developed and manufactured by SSC North America, which is located in Richland, Washington.

SSC North America was formerly Shelby SuperCars Inc. and is an American car producer that has been around since 1998. SSC was initially named after the owner and lead designer.

sleek black red ssc tuatara fastest car in the world 900x600 1

Who Started the Tuatara?

The Tuatara hypercar was designed, engineered, and developed by Jerod Shelby and his team at SSC North America (that name may sound familiar since Jerod owns SSC North American but is not related to the other famous Shelby in car manufacturing, Carroll Shelby).

I wonder if that had anything to do with them changing their name to SSC (in fact, that’s exactly what happened in 2012 due to a settlement with Carroll Shelby Licensing).

The body and aerodynamic features of the vehicle were designed by acclaimed auto designer Jason Castriota, who was responsible for the design of many Masseratis and Ferraris.

What Models Does Tuatara Have?

There are three Tuatara models:

  • The original SSC Tuatara: The original SSC Tuatara made its’ debut at the Philadelphia Auto Show. It was originally delivered to the first owner, Larry Caplin in 2019, but he kept it under wraps so it could be displayed in Philadelphia. Its debut also was delayed as Caplin wanted to tie in the introduction to his charity CF Charities.
  • Tuatara Striker: The Striker offers a wide range of features that enable it to race well on the track. This is due to the aerodynamic components that were utilized in the development of the vehicle.
  • Tuatara Aggressor: The Aggressor looks very similar to the Striker as they both have the same body style. The Aggressor offers customers more options such as racing seats and a 2,200 hp engine upgrade.

Production of the Tuatara:

The first SSC Tuatara was first introduced by its owner Larry Caplin at the 2020 Philadelphia Auto Show on February 7th. It was the first Tuatara to be produced, and only 99 others were manufactured, making the total count of the vehicles at 100. The cars are manufactured from a specifically-built facility in Richard, Washington. The SSC Tuatara and all related models from the company were produced for maximum speed. The Tuatara is considered the worlds’ fastest production car as reported in Driving Magazine. In a race held at the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds, located at the Kennedy Space Center, the Tuatara reached 286.1 miles per hour. The SSC Tuatara is often confused with the Bugatti because both vehicles are engineered for speed. According to Bloomberg and Economic Times, The Bugatti Bolide was introduced in October 2020, making claims that it could beat the speed record set by the SSC Tuatara.

What’s in a Name?

The Tuatara is named after a New Zealand Reptile. It was named Tuatara since it appears the reptile could be the inspiration for the vehicle. Both have “peaks on the back,” which is what Tuatara is translated to from the Maori language. The Tuatara is a descendant of ancient dinosaurs.

The designer of the Tuatara wanted the car to look like its’ lizard counterpart. It was created with a sharp nose and eyes and just one windshield wiper, to replicate the lizard’s third eye. Its rear vents were designed to look like gills.

With the winglets on the back of the car, the developers thought the name was appropriate and it stuck!

Can You Buy a SSC Tuatara?

You can buy an SSC Tuatara, but it has a very large price tag, reflecting all the production specs and components in the vehicle to give it exceptional speed and handling. These exceptional vehicles cost around 1.9 million dollars.

The car is manufactured in a facility located in Richard, Washington. While it is legal to own a Tuatara in the U.S., it was created for speed and is at its best when racing.

Features and Options:

There are some trim packages and different options available to those purchasing an SSC Tuatara. But items found standard include:

  • Rear mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive
  • Butterfly doors
  • 9 L (360.8 cu in) SSC Twin-Turbo flat-plane crank V8 engine powertrain
  • Engine created in partnership with Nelson Racine Engines
  • Linder Power Systems for engine sub-assembly fabrication
  • Seven-speed transmission

Exterior features include:

  • Organic Design Overall
  • Aggressive Bumper
  • Race-Inspired Diffuser
  • Notable Changes Over The Concept
  • Carbon-Fiber Body with aluminum crumple zones
  • Color Accents
  • Clear Carbon Options

Interior features:

  • Updated Design
  • Looks More Upscale Than Prototype
  • Better Fit And Finish
  • Race-Inspired Steering Wheel
  • Visible Carbon Fiber
  • Digital Instrument Cluster
  • Modern Infotainment Display
  • Race-Inspired Seats

Customers do have the option to customize trim. If you purchase an SSC Tuatara, you will be one of only 100 owners, as the production quantity is set at 100 cars.

Claim to Fame:

The SSC Tuatara is considered a supercar, or a hypercar, because of its limited availability and its speed. Supercars are high-performance vehicles with mid-body engines. Hypercars are similar except they have even higher speed, power, and pricetags.

The unique technologies used in the manufacturing of the vehicles like the power-to-weight ratio also help define a supercar and hypercar.

Some of the features that help the vehicle reach top performance include:

  • Aerodynamic body style with winged doors that open at a press of a button
  • Well-appointed cockpit
  • Safe, exposed carbon fiber encasing the cab
  • Incredibly low drag coefficient
  • The interior is designed to maximize the driver’s ability.
  • The HMI (human-machine interface) helps the driver seamlessly connect to the car
  • Clear driver displays offering crucial driving information
  • Touch screen system on the driving console
  • The steering wheel has custom paddle shifts, accessible buttons, and toggles
  • Shift light to prompt driving during track handling scenarios
  • Can accommodate drivers up to 6’5”

Fastest Car in the World?

The SSC Tuatara has undergone many tests for speed. TMZ Sports confirmed that that car hit 301.07 miles per hour and 331.15 mph on its latest top speed record attempt.  

Because of this, they claimed that the Tuatara had beaten the previous record held by Bugatti. However, as we reported in our current list of the fastest production cars in the world, they didn’t quite make it to the top spot.

The top spot is still held by the only car to have an average speed over 300 mph, the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport. The SSC Tuatara sits in second place, just ahead of the Koenigsegg Agera RS.  

All three of these cars, while super-fast, claim they can break the 300-mph barrier and take the top spot for the production car speed record. But the Chiron is the only one to have proof that it can do that (check out our article that lists some cool facts about the Bugatti Chiron).  

The SSC Tuatara 6.9L V8 Twin Turbo can accelerate from 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) in 2.6 seconds.

Some other records it currently holds include:

  • [UNCONFIRMED] “Fastest Flying Mile on a Public Road” at 313.12 mph
  • [CLAIMED] “Fastest Flying Kilometer on a Public Road” at 321.35 mph
  • “Highest Speed Achieved on a Public Road” at 331.15 mph

Those that choose this unique car, can feel sure that they won’t see another one on the street as only 100 of each model are made. They are made as a racing car, so chances are you won’t see them on the street anyway.

These vehicles are most desirable to those that love cars and speed, as they accelerate quickly and go to top speeds of over 300 mph. The SCC Tuatara comes with a hefty price tag of about $2 million. The company states that they are looking to produce a less expensive version. The “little brother” is a scaled-down version and will have a smaller price tag, but like previous models, it will only be producing 100 of them.

Possible Issues with the SSC Tuatara? reported that during a speed run, the car had cooling issues that led to spark plug failure when the car was traveling at 251 mph.

Scroll to Top