Jerod Shelby might not be related to Carroll Shelby, but he is also an American automotive visionary. In my former career in the Corvette aftermarket, he visited me at Eckler’s Corvette about supplying finished fiberglass body panels. Carbon fiber was too expensive 15 years ago, so the wait was worth it. That’s because the SSC Tuatara has arrived.
Engineering and building an American carbon fiber monocoque chassis took decades, as SSC doesn’t rely on support from the big 3 automakers. Tom Nelson builds the most powerful racing engines in the world, so the Tuatara makes use of a Nelson Racing LSX 5.9L V8. It has a flat-plane crank and two turbos along with Nelson’s patented dual-fuel system.
At low boost, it uses 91 octane to make 1,350 horsepower. Dig into the throttle and separate E85 injectors allow for 1,750 reliable horsepower. Because the block and heads are aluminum, the fully-dressed engine is only 428 lbs. This allows the Tuatara to have a dry-weight of 2,750 lbs, even with A/C, power windows, & 5 cameras. Only 100 will be built, so congratulations to SSC for this momentous achievement!