The last we heard from Jerod Shelby and the SSC Tuatara, the plan was to re-run the top speed record attempt. The first of which resulted in controversy. However, SSC North America has suffered another setback, and the Tuatara that was to be used in the high-speed record attempt was involved in an accident.
According to The Drive, which published exclusive photos of the maimed machine, the SSC Tuatara was on its way to Florida for another speed run (presumably at the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds) in April. Unfortunately, the vehicle carrier that was transporting the Tuatara flipped, due to high winds while passing through the state of Utah.
The Drive was able to secure a quote from Jerod Shelby himself, who conformed that this production SSC Tuatara is indeed vehicle No. 001 that we’ve seen in every top speed run video up to this point, which owned by Dr. Larry Caplin. Shelby insisted that the hypercar can be repaired, and that damage to the vehicle was mostly cosmetic. Even so, there isn’t a backup hypercar at the ready, and Caplin’s Tuatara will have to be repaired before another run is attempted. A timetable is not immediately clear at this time.
The SSC Tuatara is powered by a 1,750 horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 built by Nelson Racing Engines, and carries a price tag of $1.9 million USD. Only 100 of them will be built, at a pace of 25 units per year, and customers are treated to nearly infinite levels of customization with colors, packages, and other amenities.
We most recently saw the SSC Tuatara in action earlier this year, where it managed to set a new production car top speed record in just 2.3 miles of tarmac at Florida’s Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds, reaching 286 mph. Shelby explained in an interview with MC&T that the plan is to hit 300 miles per hour in that same stretch, before going on to test the theoretical top speed limits of the Tuatara, which is estimated to be 345 miles per hour. Finding a location to achieve such speeds has proven to be difficult.
As the late, great JFK once said when announcing America’s intent to put a man on the moon, we do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.