The SSC Tuatara is gorgeous and inspiring to behold - even from afar - as the epitome of lurid hypercar vision made real.
The Tuatara packs all the right swoops, wings and curves to make the company into something big. Something to add sex appeal to the fast/ugly Ultimate Aero XT.
As it stands, the Ultimate Aero XT is the only model offered for sale by SSC to date, and has been the drivetrain testing mule for the Tuatara.
The hypercar business is extremely difficult, however, and takes the typical startup odds of failure and jacks the pressure sky-high.
If the regular startup failure rate is 98-percent, the hypercar failure rate rounds up comfortably to 100-percent.
This is due to the huge fixed costs needed to develop and road-certify any car, let alone a small-batch hypercar. Even if SSC were planning to only sell ten cars a year annually, they still need to shell out major cash to crash and emission test everything.
Not to mention to cost of the actual engineering and mechanical developments. And not to mention the price of actually securing components and building the machines.
All the odds are really stacked against any new hypercar startup, which is why the success of W Motors, Pagani and Koenigsegg is so incredible and such a huge achievement.
Regretfully, the SSC North America Tuatara appears to be on hiatus.
While the website is still up and running, the CFO has stated last Spring in an email to me that the first cars were to be delivered at the end of 2013 or beginning of 2014.
The SSC Facebook and founder Jarod Shelby's Twitter have both been dormant since September 2013, and the last press release went out in April 2013.
These are not good signs. It is a real shame, because clearly the twin-turbocharged V8 under the Ultimate Aero XT's hokey bodywork is something quite magnificent. But for all the reasons above, it is a hard world for any startup. Balancing daily costs of running the business, actually running the business -- all while seeking investment to keep the lights on?
Stressful. Oh yes.
Startups are bank-breaking and often back-breaking work.
We hope to see more from the SSC team, because the Tuatara ideas and foundation are surely rock-solid. We wish them the best, and hope to be proven wrong.