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Gone, Baby, Gone: Ride Along On The SSC Tuatara’s 331 MPH Record-Setting Run In Nevada


Gone, Baby, Gone: Ride Along On The SSC Tuatara’s 331 MPH Record-Setting Run In Nevada

331 MPH.

I want to put this into perspective. The fastest I’ve ever been in a car I’ve personally owned with a known measurement is 130.287 in Angry Grandpa at Wilmington in 2015. The fastest I’ve been in my own car, period, is somewhere between 130 and 140 MPH in “Warhammer”, the 1987 360/4-speed Dodge Diplomat that I still consider my high-water mark when it comes to project vehicles. The fastest I’ve ever been in a road going vehicle is 172 miles per hour in a 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 on an impromptu blitz run somewhere in Washington State. I can’t count either the Cessna 172 that I piloted during flight training nor the OH-58D(R) Kiowa Warriors I worked on in the same breath as this car. The Chinook helicopter, one of the fastest rotary-wing vehicles in production, flies at roughly 188 MPH at full chat. And then there’s the legend, the car that for the last decade has been the benchmark, the Bugatti Veyron, which in Super Sport trim tagged in at 267 MPH.

Three hundred and thirty one miles an hour. You can’t type that figure into Google right now because the entire freaking world is trying to wrap their head around the run made in the Middle of Nowhere, Nevada. 331 MPH is cruising speed for small jets and fast prop planes. Don’t believe me? This thing is faster than a deHavilland DHC-8 100 in cruise. Superlatives don’t do it justice. Dropping the F-bomb wouldn’t do it justice, and it’s warranted in this case. In fact, the only thing more surprising than the speed is that the driver lost his nerve after a couple of crosswind issues at the upper end of the run. Hit play. You’ll hear it like we did: this car couldn’t be bothered to give a shit until it crossed the 200 mile an hour mark, and that’s when things get real interesting, real fast. From 200-331 MPH, it accelerates like a Camry that’s been kicked in the ass. That might not sound right, but at those speeds, that’s borderline unreal without rocket assist. And you can tell that the car was still pulling like a freight train on fire when the driver’s spine chilled, you can see it as the numbers continued to climb. There is still plenty left on the table.

Cool day, warm asphalt, no wind. We can’t wait to see what that vMAX figure looks like.


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10 thoughts on “Gone, Baby, Gone: Ride Along On The SSC Tuatara’s 331 MPH Record-Setting Run In Nevada

  1. john

    If 80mph if the max you can do legally in the US, this leaves another 250 mph as useless speed. BMT… ran my SRT-4 at Maxton with the old ECTA (the one with rules) to 138 mph, braking to keep from exceeding 140.

    Reply
  2. Labweiler

    American made car on an American highway crushes the speed record of a custom built Bugatti on a closed course.

    Can you hear that? It’s the sound of Bugatti prices falling 🙂

    Reply
  3. Dan

    I read that this run was made with NO roll cage in the car. Nothing! Now, maybe this thing is some super strong carbon fiber tub or something, but that seems positively insane and I can’t believe it was allowed to happen.
    From the Motor Authority article:
    “The car ran in stock condition and was equipped just as Caplin ordered it, with a four-point seating harness and no roll cage.”

    Reply
  4. j streed

    Who would think that a ROLL CAGE would do ANY GOOD at that Speed on That road is LAUGHABLE !! All it takes is one Scared JACK RABBIT to HOP OUT on that road and ROAD KILL is the Least of YOUR PROBLEMS !!!

    Reply
  5. Herb Brownell

    No mention of the tires. Who made them and the construction techniques? How many runs at that speed before they are trashed? Cost?

    Reply
  6. Nick Gunner

    I’m confused. It is my understanding that the run was proven to be much slower than 331 mph and that SSC owner jerod Shelby has issued a public acknowledgement . He says they’re going to rerun the car as the first run couldn’t stand up to scrutiny. SO why does this article appear to completely ignore that fact . I believe it was on Bangshift that the controversy fisrt came to my attention a couple of weeks so what gives?

    Reply

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