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The New SSC Tuatara and
Top Speed One-Upmanship

November 14, 2011 by Matt

SSC Tuatara White Supercar

Inspired by the recent reveal of the SSC Tuatara‘s wacky/awesome (take your pick) interior, and the car’s stated intent to reclaim for SSC the title of “World’s Fastest Street-Legal Production Car” from the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, I decided to revisit the evolution of that title over the past 60 years or so.

Here’s the progression since 1949:

And here are some observations about the list:

  • The three longest record holders were the Mercedes Gullwing at 6 years, the McLaren F1 at 12, and the Ferrari Daytona at a whopping 16 years. The ’70s truly were “the lost decade” for speed.
  • The Lamborghini Diablo, emerging in 1990, had a quoted top speed of 202 mph, which beat the Ferrari F40’s listed 201 mph; however, the F40 could hit 203 in practice. Beastly car.
  • Although the F1’s record of 231 mph has long been surpassed, it remains the fastest naturally-aspirated car on the list, a testament to the enduring excellence of McLaren’s chassis and BMW’s engine development.
  • The Koenigsegg CCR held the record for the shortest amount of time: a month and a half between late February and mid-April ’05, when it was surpassed by the Veyron.
  • I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t even heard of the Iso Grifo before compiling the list. It’s a shame, really, since it’s a stunning car. Hmm…future article fodder?
  • Driving any of the listed cars at top speed (with the possible exception of the F1 or 959) is probably a truly terrifying experience, but from all I’ve heard, 171 mph in the Miura would take the cake as the most hair-raising ride of all. The groundbreaking Lambo is little more than a pretty shell with a transverse V12 shoehorned in amidships—little to no chassis tuning or finesse, negative downforce. Yeesh.
  • The upcoming Tuatara’s quoted top speed is 276 mph, an increase of 8 mph over the Veyron. I remember when 200 mph was the “barrier;” how much longer until we’re topping 300??

Filed under: Miscellaneous, SSC

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