SSC Tuatara, $1.67 million

The American manufacturer Shelby SuperCars (SSC) designed the Tuatara with one goal in mind, to take away from Bugatti the “world’s fastest car” title (once again). If what you are looking for is pure adrenaline then Tuatara’s 5.9-liter twin-turbo V8 claimed to reach 278 mph top speed is what you need.

2020-ssc-tuatara-05-1566869615-600x400 SSC Tuatara, $1.67 million

We first set eyes on the SSC Tuatara’s wildly futuristic design eight years ago, but it still looks like a spaceship. If anything, it fits into the design lexicon of 2019 hypercar far better than it did in 2011 (especially when fitted with the optional track pack). But the design isn’t focused purely on visual impact—its form has been honed by Jason Castriota (Maserati Birdcage Concept, Ferrari 599, and the one off that started it all…the Ferrari P4/5), and is driven by the unwavering demands of aerodynamics at high speed.

2020-ssc-tuatara-08-1566869615-600x400 SSC Tuatara, $1.67 million

The Tuatara is powered by a bespoke flat-plane crank 5.9-liter twin-turbo V8 developed by Nelsen Racing that redlines at 8,800rpm. It delivers 1,332hp on ‘regular pump gas’ or an eye-watering 1,726hp on E85 (barrels of which have come to Monticello to give us the full experience today). Transferring this power to the rear wheels (yes, only the rears) is the work of a bespoke seven-speed automated manual ’box, developed by CIMA in Italy and capable of delivering a flat shift in less than 50 milliseconds.

2020-ssc-tuatara-04-1566869614-600x400 SSC Tuatara, $1.67 million

SSC claims a 0-100kph time sub-2.5sec, a quarter-mile in under 9.75sec, and a top speed of…well, we’ll have to wait and see. The Penske active suspension has three settings: Normal, Sport, and Track. Transferring fire and fury to the road surface are Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tiress, 245/35 on the front and a worried-looking 345/30 on the rear.

2020-ssc-tuatara-03-1566869614-600x400 SSC Tuatara, $1.67 million

The track is quickly swamped with a squadron of Miatas, so Jerod and I head out onto the highway to see how the SSC fares in the real world. You’re conscious that excessive power is always available, and any pressure put on the throttle is accompanied by a huge inhalation then a dump of boost pressure, so you end up wafting along, barely troubling the potential under your right foot.

The visibility is narrow, focused, and aggressive, the ride surprisingly is supple thanks to the active Penske suspension, and the ’box shifts smoothly at these lower speeds. Our short trip showcases enough potential to prove owners could happily drive from Manhattan to Monticello if they wanted to.

2020-ssc-tuatara-01-1566869614-600x400 SSC Tuatara, $1.67 million

The track is quickly swamped with a squadron of Miatas, so Jerod and I head out onto the highway to see how the SSC fares in the real world. You’re conscious that excessive power is always available, and any pressure put on the throttle is accompanied by a huge inhalation then a dump of boost pressure, so you end up wafting along, barely troubling the potential under your right foot.

The visibility is narrow, focused, and aggressive, the ride surprisingly is supple thanks to the active Penske suspension, and the ’box shifts smoothly at these lower speeds. Our short trip showcases enough potential to prove owners could happily drive from Manhattan to Monticello if they wanted to.