Shelby SuperCars (SSC) have just announced the name of their latest supercar. It's called the Tuatara, and it was penned by the famed American supercar designer Jason Castriota. The Tuatara's name comes from a lizard which lives solely on the north island of New Zealand. According to Jarod Shelby, SSC's founder and namesake, the Tuatara's name was selected because its DNA is the fastest evolving in the animal kingdom. And that is designed to reflect the speed at which SSC's supercars are evolving. The Tuatara (the lizardy type) is also one of the longest lived reptiles, with some estimates stating that the creature could live for up to 200 years in captivity. If SSC's cars can last that long then they'll really be living up to their name!
Anyway, aside from the reptile backstory, there is a lot more to the Shelby SuperCars Tuatara than meets the eye. By looking at it you could be fairly sure that it had a monstrous engine. But not many people would guess that it's fitted with a twin-turbocharged 7.0 litre DOHC V8 capable of producing a monumental 1,350 horsepower. Or that it had a 7-speed gearbox with paddle-shift and a triple-disc carbon clutch.
Add to that the fact it's got a carbon fiber cabin, carbon-fiber sub-frames and carbon-fiber wheels, and you begin to get the idea behind this car. It has clearly been designed to recapture the title of the world's fastest production car – which is currently in the hands of the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport.
SSC's previous car, the Ultimate Aero, briefly held the title before Bugatti won it back last year. In order to become the world's fastest production car, the Tuatara must beat the Veyron Super Sport's 268 mph top speed. A figure of 275 has been circling for a while…
Despite Tuatura's huge $1.3 million price tag, Shelby Supercars has managed to sell an impressive 10 units during the 2011 Dubai International Motor Show. So, $13 million in just five days? Not bad for Shelby. Financial crisis? What crisis?
Shelby Supercars' Aero TT was manufactured in several locations in Washington, California, and Arizona but Shelby's home-based operation in West Richard is the sole location for the production of the Tuatara SSC.
Performance: do you really have to ask?
The numbers on paper are staggering enough – even before getting to actual performance times and stats. The proposed record breaker is powered by a quad-cam, twin-turbo V8 displacing 6.8 liters. The engine, like all the other mechanical parts, are all developed in-house by SSC themselves. The new powerplant shares a lot with the old 6.2 liter item – the block and its innards are the same design, so are the dimensions and location of its 10 radiators. Changes come in the form of a four-valves-per-cylinder overhead cam (OHC) setup as opposed to push rods and new SSC spec turbochargers. The new setup is good for a colossal 1350HP and will rev to 9000RPM! Zero to 62mph will arrive in around 2.8 seconds and SSC claims a top speed of, wait for it, 275mph! The in-gear acceleration figures are not known as of yet, but you can be sure they will be absolutely mind blowing. Thank goodness the new car will feature traction control, ABS with servo assistance, and Brembo carbon ceramic stoppers. I can't even begin to imagine letting that kind of power loose on public roads without fear of being apprehended by the long arm of the law while experiencing acceleration that will rip your face off. This thing should sound the way it goes – an all turbo whoosh and snarling, angry V8.