First Customer-Bound SSC Tuatara Hypercar to Debut Feb. 7 in Philadelphia

It's safe to say someone is kicking off their 2020 better than us.

The notion that the SSC Tuatara actually exists is surreal. The successor to the 256-miles-per-hour Ultimate Aero (which held the world record for the fastest production car for three years), the Tuatara was first revealed as a concept in 2011. SSC then went silent for years on end, leading many to believe that the boutique American automaker had simply bitten off more than it could chew. In reality, SSC was spending more time making the Tuatara happen rather than talking it up. And in 2018, it resurfaced with an updated Tuatara that has now been in production for almost a year. Finally, after more than eight years of waiting, the first Tuatara customer is about to get their car, which SSC will display at this year’s Philadelphia Auto Show.

First SSC Tuatara Customer Car, SSC North America

SSC announced Thursday morning that the production car will see the limelight Feb. 7, stating that the car will share a cordoned-off area of the show floor with several other record-breaking hypercars, including an Ultimate Aero. Though the public will be able to view the car from behind velvet ropes, a closer look will be restricted to members of the media or those who book appointments with one of the show’s sponsors: CF Charities.

The SSC Tuatara’s 1,750-Horsepower Heart, SSC North America

Every Tuatara from the first to the hundredth and last will be powered by a 5.9-liter, 1,750-horsepower twin-turbo V8 developed exclusively for the hypercar by Nelson Racing Engines. This lump’s displacement is unusually large for a V8 with a flat-plane crankshaft, a design which offers reduced weight at the expense of added vibration. The largest such production car engine so far is the 5.2-liter “VooDoo” found in the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 (and some wild concept cars), though a V8 of this type will soon be available in a variant of the Chevrolet Corvette—possibly the C8 Z06, and with a suspected displacement of 5.5 liters or more.

With an anticipated curb weight of below 3,000 pounds and an active aero-managed drag coefficient of just 0.279, the Tuatara should have a straight-line performance to rival anything not propelled by gunpowder or rocket fuel. Cracking 300 mph is SSC’s ultimate goal, though to achieve that speed it’ll need to find a flat, straight stretch of ground several miles long. Now might be the time to ring up the folks at Bloodhound LSR and ask to borrow their stretch of South Africa desert.

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SSC Tuatara, SSC North America