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Pebble Beach Concours: A supercar's supercar

August 21, 2011 |  4:32 pm


If you’re the kind of millionaire who likes his toys to come with as many superlatives as possible (and really, who isn’t these days) your interest may have been piqued by a little-known car sitting on the concept lawn at this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Made by boutique Washington-based automaker Shelby Super Cars (SSC), this forthcoming model is called the Tuatara, named after a New Zealand reptile. It’s only the second car to come from SSC, the first being the Ultimate Aero in 2007.

Full details of the Tuatara have yet to be released, but the company says the car will be powered by an in-house twin-turbocharged V-8 putting out horsepower in the neighborhood of 1,350. The car should weigh around 2,700 pounds without any fluids like gas or coolant, or about the weight of a Honda Civic.

The Tuatara uses a carbon-fiber body designed by Jason Castriota, the pen behind notable cars like the Maserati GranTurismo and the one-off Pininfarina Ferrari P4/5 and a carbon chassis and subframe.

Tuat_rear If the towering horsepower-to-weight ratio of the Tuatara is any indication, this is a car with a purpose: speed. In fact, SSC has its eyes set on the Tuatara setting the world record for top speed in a production car. It would seem the company has a bit of revenge on its mind.

You see, that top-speed distinction is currently held by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, with a clocked speed of 267 mph. Prior to that, the record was 256 miles per hour, set by the Tuatara’s spiritual predecessor, the Ultimate Aero.

That car stole the top-speed record from the original version of the Bugatti Veyron. And so it goes.

As far fetched as a small-batch supercar besting perhaps the world’s most over-engineered car sounds, SSC founder Jerod Shelby (no relation to Carroll Shelby) is confident the Tuatara will be a record-holder. He says he expects the car to start production in mid-2012, with the first deliveries of the car happening in 2013. He wouldn’t divulge the cost of the vehicle but said it was more than $1 million, with five buyers worldwide already signing on.


--David Undercoffler / @LATimes_Driven


Photos: Shelby Super Cars' Tuatara on the Concept Lawn at the Pebble Beach Concour d'Elegance. Credit: David Undercoffler / Los Angeles Times