In 1998 an engineer named Jerod Shelby began to develop his dream of offering a North American-based supercar that could match or exceed the standards set by the Europeans. After years of working in the medical device field, Shelby decided he wanted to pursue his dream of developing supercars. Although his dream was clearly in view, the path to success was a difficult one. Taking a supercar from a dream to reality takes an incredible amount of time, money, and energy. The company resulting from that journey was Shelby SuperCars.

The Creation of SSC North America

Shelby realized he needed to differentiate himself from Carroll Shelby International which is an unrelated entity. So Shelby SuperCars was renamed SSC North America. This not only separated the two companies but also gave SSC recognition as a supercar manufacturer located on the North American continent.

The Ultimate Aero

SSC North America worked in silence in West Richland Washington to develop its first supercar entry, which the world would come to know as the Ultimate Aero. It was time to take the years of design and engineering and turn it into reality, and that was proven in 2006 when the Ultimate Aero completed Road & Track Magazine’s testing on their slalom course and broke the record previously held by Enrico Ferrari. Owners began using their Ultimate Aeros and discovered a true driver’s car, with precise steering and handling without aids such as ABS or traction control.

The success of the Ultimate Aero’s design was validated on September 13, 2007, when it broke the Guinness World Record previously held by the Bugatti Veyron with a two-way speed in excess of 256.14 mph on a rural road in eastern Washington.

The XT

The next step was to develop a prototype for SSC’s hypercar, which was known as the XT or Extreme Tuatara. The XT proved valuable for SSC testing of the various subassemblies that would be needed for the eventual development of the Tuatara hypercar.

The Tuatara

SSC next undertook market development studies around the world to determine if a North American hypercar would see customer acceptance. Feedback from China, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States showed that there was a positive market reaction to a new hypercar.

The result of extensive design based on fighter jet aerodynamics is the Tuatara. This amazing road-legal hypercar features a body designed by the renown Jason Castriota, an engine made in partnership with Nelson Racing Engines, and unparalleled transmission and data analysis systems from Automac Engineering. The Tuatara is crafted deliberately and methodically consistent with the statement found on the vehicle’s badge “In Veritate Victoria” or “In Truth is Victory”.

The Tuatara offers the pinnacle of performance in a vehicle where the driver becomes an integral part of the vehicle. Information systems both in the HMI or Human-Machine Interface offers all critical system information both in the driver’s display and a center console touchscreen. The wind tunnel-tested aerodynamic design results in a coefficient of drag lower than any in its class. Airflow is managed to give precise and balanced downforce across the vehicle at all speeds.

Tuatara Specifications

  • Mid-engine design
  • 2750 lb. dry weight
  • 105.2-inch wheelbase
  • 42-inch height
  • 0.279 coefficient of drag
  • 1350 horsepower with 91 octane or 1750 with E85 fuel
  • 8800 rpm redline
  • 5.9 liter or 366 cubic inch displacement
  • Sub 100-millisecond gear shifting
  • Sport, Track, and Front Lift driving modes
  • Blind-spot side cameras and full-time rear camera
  • Digital HMI driver display and touchscreen center console

For more information on SSC and its line of performance race-oriented automobiles, contact Manhattan Motorcars.

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