That Racer Kid in High School Turned Out to Be…

January 4th, 2013

Jerod Shelby

There’s not much better than logging on to Facebook and seeing a message from a friend.

When that message is about hot cars, even better.

When that message is about hot cars and the guys who build them, well, you can guarantee yourself one happy car blogger.

Such was the case last night when a new friend shared this little yarn with me:

There was a quiet kid in high school who would come out of nowhere and beat everybody at the Friday after-school drags on a regular basis with his heavy-as-hell Charger. Then he popped a small block in a 240Z and took the color out of passenger’s cheeks on twisties around town. Went to a couple parties at his house. He painted my Cutlass for a hundred bucks. Last night I saw his name on a friend’s friends list; his profile picture had him posed beside some hot car. I thought probably he’d saved up all his life, or worse yet, he’d rented it for the picture. Turns out the car is the SSC Tuatara and he’s Jerod Shelby. Awesome.

Heck yes that’s awesome! I did some research and found Shelby’s profile page and the picture I assume my friend referenced. If so, the car is actually the SSC Ultimate Aero, which the Tuatara will soon replace. The Ultimate Aero, though, was once the fastest production car in the world before being unseated by the Bugatti Veyron.

How’s that for inspiration to achieve dreams? If a kid from the small town of Richland, Wash., can grow up and build a car that competes with the very best that a multi-billion dollar car empire can produce, we’ve all got a chance at the success we’ve always dreamed of.

Shelby and SSC still call Washington State home and broke ground this month on a new headquarters and production facility capable of building 48 cars per year. I’ve been extended an invitation to visit once the facility is finished, which I’ll surely do and report back here with pictures.

Maybe I’ll even ask Jerod if he remembers making my friend sick in his old 240Z.

If you could ask SSC founder Jerod Shelby anything, what would it be?

-tgriffith

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