Published July 18, 2011
Right now the fastest production car in the world is the hyper exclusive--and hyper expensive--Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, which is capable of a top speed of 268 mph. The previous record holder was the less refined, yet still very capable, Ultimate Aero from America’s own Shelby SuperCars (SSC), which itself stole the record from the original Veyron.
Now SSC is set to reclaim the manufacturer of the world’s fastest production title from Bugatti with a brand new supercar, a supercar that will go by the name Tuatara (pronounced twu-tar-ah).
Yes, SSC has taken a page out of Pagani’s book and given its latest supercar a name almost as strange as Huayra, but there is some reasoning behind the decision.
The name Tuatara was inspired by the Maori word for a lizard found in New Zealand. The Maori are the indigenous people of the tiny island nation. The Tuatara lizard boasts the fastest evolving DNA in the world, and this fast-paced evolution is something SSC’s designers think their new supercar encapsulates.
As the founder of SSC, Jerod Shelby explains: “Most manufacturers essentially use the same basic model and body shape for up to 10 years, while only making small refinements to it each year. After only three years in production with the Ultimate Aero, SSC’s Tuatara is about to monumentally evolve in the areas of sophistication, design, aerodynamics and shear all-around performance. We felt that the fastest evolving DNA was a perfect definition of SSC’s latest project.”
Along with the new name, SSC also released more specs for its upcoming supercar. Its body will be composed entirely of carbon fiber and wrapped around a chassis made of the same stuff. The crash structures will be aluminum, however, though the wheels will also be made from carbon fiber.
The engine will be a twin-turbocharged 7.0-liter V-8 developing upwards of 1,350 horsepower, and drive will be sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed manual transmission -- yes, like the one Porsche is rumored to be working on for its new 911, or a seven-speed sequential manual with paddle-shifters.
No mention of top speed, though a 275 mph figure has been circulating for a while now. Pictured above is a concept version of the car that was shown to select clientele earlier this year. It was penned by none other than Jason Castriota, the former Bertone stylist responsible for the Mantide and now head of design at Saab.