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First Look: SSC Tuatara

Goliath, meet David.

by on Aug.24, 2011

Heading for a new land speed record? The SSC Tuatara will push for 275 mph.

Goliath, meet David.  Oh, and watch out for the rock.

It came as more than a little surprise, a few years back, when a little automotive start-up – from Washington State, no less – bested big Bugatti, the ultra-luxury Volkswagen Group brand to grab the world production car speed record, SSC’s Ultimate Aero topping out at a blistering 258 mph.

Bugatti ultimately got the trophy back, but the world was put on notice: don’t dismiss the folks from Shelby Super Cars.  No, not that Shelby.  This guy made a fortune developing medical devices before getting into automotive manufacturing, but spend a little time with Jerod Shelby and you realize he’s as passionate as anyone who grew up in the car business.

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And he’s got a new passion these days, SSC’s second car finally ready to reveal in time for the past weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. was there for the roll-out – and spent time over a long lunch discussing the oddly-named SSC Tuatara.


First Drive: 258 mph Shelby SuperCar

Nothing another 10 mph wouldn’t solve.

by on Aug.18, 2010

SSC founder Jerod Shelby with the Ultimate Aero, gen-1.

There aren’t many street-legal automobiles we haven’t driven, over the years, and among them there aren’t many we were intimidated by.  That was before we got behind the wheel of the Shelby SuperCar Ultimate Aero.

First, a word of clarification.  For those who immediately connect SSC with Texas legend Carroll Shelby, think again.  It’s actually the work of Jerod Shelby, who made his fortune at a young age designing advanced medical technology – and who is now risking it all on a company that is obsessed with holding the world speed record for a production automobile.  No family connection, but we think the better-known Shelby would appreciate his namesake’s efforts.

And what Jerod Shelby and his small but merry band of designers and engineers have come up with is a knife-edged supercar of daunting proportions.

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Impossibly slow and aerodynamically sleek, its 6.8-liter twin-turbo V8 pours out 1280 horsepower and 1112 pound-feet of torque.  During a series of timed runs, three years ago, that was enough to propel the Ultimate Aero to an average 258 mph – on open roads – giving it the crown as the world’s fastest production car.