Automotive

They did it! SSC shows off its first production Tuatara hypercar

They did it! SSC shows off its...
The SSC Tuatara's weird floppy dog ears will make it highly recognizable
The SSC Tuatara's weird floppy dog ears will make it highly recognizable
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The SSC Tuatara in party mode
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The SSC Tuatara in party mode
The front end is all aerodynamics and smooth as an egg
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The front end is all aerodynamics and smooth as an egg
A view into the cabin of Tuatara #001
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A view into the cabin of Tuatara #001
A Tuatara all opened up is quite a sight
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A Tuatara all opened up is quite a sight
Doors that open upward. You know you want them
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Doors that open upward. You know you want them
The SSC Tuatara's weird floppy dog ears will make it highly recognizable
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The SSC Tuatara's weird floppy dog ears will make it highly recognizable
Looking right through the cabin
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Looking right through the cabin
Suspension is electronically actuated
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Suspension is electronically actuated
Monster 5.9-liter twin turbo V8 makes 1,750 horsepower
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Monster 5.9-liter twin turbo V8 makes 1,750 horsepower
Flip-up wing on the back acts as an air brake
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Flip-up wing on the back acts as an air brake
Carbon/leather sports seats should wipe down reasonably easily after you try going full throttle
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Carbon/leather sports seats should wipe down reasonably easily after you try going full throttle
An all-American hypercar to take on the Hennessey Venom F5
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An all-American hypercar to take on the Hennessey Venom F5
Don't drive into the vineyard, little Tuatara
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Don't drive into the vineyard, little Tuatara
Wickedly aerodynamic design
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Wickedly aerodynamic design
Curves, holes and fins
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Curves, holes and fins
The side view seems to blend the angularity of a Lambo with the Curves of a Ferrari
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The side view seems to blend the angularity of a Lambo with the Curves of a Ferrari
One of the greatest production combustion engines ever built
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One of the greatest production combustion engines ever built
Squared-off steering wheel and dash
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Squared-off steering wheel and dash
View gallery - 18 images

We were wondering if it was vaporware for a while there, but SSC North America has unveiled the first production model of its 1,750-horsepower, twin-turbo V8 Tuatara hypercar. It's the successor to the Ultimate Aero, the world's fastest car in 2010.

More than a decade in the making, the Tuatara sits at #5 on our list of the world's most powerful cars. If you take the electric Lotus, Rimac and Pininfarina out of the equation, the Tuatara sits behind the Hennessey Venom F5 as the second most powerful combustion-powered production car on the planet. And since Hennessey still hasn't got the F5 built yet, the pride of SSC unveiled today must rank as one of the baddest cars ever built.

Designed to do north of 300 mph (483 km/h), the Tuatara is an ultra-aerodynamic design with a drag coefficient of 0.279. SSC says there's nothing slipperier in the highly slippery hypercar segment, but that doesn't mean it's a featureless, teardrop-shaped lump. The overall shape feels quite Ferrari-adjacent to us, although you get the feeling Maranello wouldn't have let this design out the door with the flying buttresses over the rear air intakes, which look a bit tacked on, or the odd little terrier's ear wings on its backside.

Wickedly aerodynamic design
Wickedly aerodynamic design

This black and red paint job doesn't seem to do the car many favors; if these shots don't float your boat, take a look at what it looked like as a white and orange prototype. Now that's what I'm talking about!

No mistake, though, this is an A-list event of an automobile. Carbon is everywhere, naturally, from the entire frame to the bodywork, so if you're worried that prodigious 5.9-liter V8 motor might have trouble pulling the car, fear not, it's very light. Last time we heard a weight figure, it was going to be 2,750 lb (1,247 kg), and no production weight figures have been released to change that.

There's some new information on the transmission – a CIMA 7-speed paddle shift auto that can switch gears in less than a tenth of a second in Track mode. There's air suspension, also tied to the modes, which makes things comfier on the street and helps you over speed bumps, or lowers you down for absolute minimal drag on the track. There's a flip-up rear wing acting as a high-speed air brake, and the whole thing opens up like a Swiss army knife when you want to flaunt your mechanicals or get the oil changed.

The SSC Tuatara in party mode
The SSC Tuatara in party mode

The interior is reasonably focused, as you'd imagine, with very sporty carbon/leather seats, a squared-off steering wheel that looks like it means business, and enough touch screen to keep your millennial nephew awake on the highway, even if it means the suspension keeps going up and down. SSC says it's roomy enough to accommodate folk up to 6'5" tall, even with a race helmet on, "comfortably." So if you reckon you can sit comfortably in a car designed to do nearly five times the highway limit, go ahead and try.

One hundred of these beasties will be hand-made at SSC's Richland, Washington HQ. This is #1. Hopefully, one of them will go on to take back the "world's fastest production car" crown, which now sits, under some dubious circumstances, with Bugatti.

SSC has supplied lots of images, jump into the gallery – and check out the video below, which celebrates the build process.

2020 SSC Tuatara

Source: SSC North America

View gallery - 18 images
4 comments
anthony88
Na na na na nana nana nana nana nanna na...Batman!
paul314
It does look like a batmobile from the back. Not so much from the front.
buzzclick
That's an intriguing and powerful engine. Lots of interesting lines. Looks like the SSC crew tried to pack in as much bling as possible, so inevitably, it can seem gaudy and ostentatious. Those holes on either side of the front and rear panels will never look as good as louvers. Triangular tailpipes? The oversized logos of Tuatara on each of the engine's plenum chambers with the Tesla "T" in the centers? Never mind the "dog ears", the rear wing only acts as an air brake and not a spoiler? The back end is too busy. Ceramic brakes are superior to metal discs, but their "dirty finish" doesn't complement the car when they're so visible. Even the name Tuatara seems pretentious. No prices? Sorry, but it's a fail.
Stitch
Batmobile was my first thought, as well. Looks slick. Not sure I'd like the wiper in a vertical stowed position. Then again, I really don't need to worry about that issue since I can't afford the beastie.