The Bugatti Chiron is basically an old Buick now. Come on, I’m just playing. But yes, there is a new world’s fastest car and it’s someone you’ve never heard of. A small hypercar maker called SSC just broke the world record for the fastest production car with the Tuatara at 316.11 mph.
Who is SSC?
For a company that has been around since 1998, SSC has, until now, lived in relative obscurity. The Detroit News reports that SSC was started by a fella named Jerod Shelby (no relation to Carroll Shelby), a trained engineer who used to run a medical device company before making the fastest car in the world. SSC now employs 24 people and is a privately held company that rather uniquely is not backed by another larger automaker.
The Hypercar that broke the world record is named after a lizard in New Zealand with an actual third eye. Designer Jason Castriota wanted the Tuatara to resemble the lizard with a pointed nose, sharp eyes, a single windshield wiper as a nod to the animal’s bizarre third eye, and rear vents that look like gills, according to The Detroit News.
We didn’t come here to talk about lizards. A 5.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 powers the SSC Tuatara. The number of horses it takes to send this hypercar to a billion miles per hour is an astounding 1,750 on race fuel and 1350 on 91 octane fuel. I’ll say that one more time; 1,750 hp. Let that wash over you for a second.
That’s the way the record crumbles
The rules for record eligibility here are that the car must be in production, be road legal, and run on regular fuel. Not only does the Tuatara meet these standards, but the record-breaking car actually belongs to a customer. The Bugatti Chiron that previously held the record was a prototype before production happened.
The way they record the speed is determined is by recording the car’s top speed two different times down the same track. The average of the two runs is the top speed. The Tuatara hit 301.07 mph on the first run and 331.15 mph for the second, resulting in an average of 316.11 mph.
OK, but how much does the SSC Tuatara cost?
As you may have imagined, the Tuatara is made in tiny numbers. SSC says they will only ever make 100 examples of the SSC Tuatara. Since SSC is a small operation, they anticipate making around 20 per year. If you want one of the very limited, fastest cars in the world, you’ll have to fork over 1.9 million bucks. But other cheaper cars are in the works for SSC as well.
For three years, Shelby has been planning on making what he calls the “little brother” of the Tuatara. Shelby says, “It will carry a very similar DNA to the Tuatara but would be naturally aspirated and have horsepower in the 700-800hp range.” Shelby mentions that these scaled-down supercars’ pricing will be around the $400,000 to $500,000 range. SSC will reportedly be making much higher numbers of these cars to expand the companies customer base.