Shelby SuperCars motors into China

Shelby SuperCars has unveiled its latest creation from founder Jerod Shelby's shops in West Richland.

Shelby chose to debut his newest super car, the Tuatara, earlier this month in Shanghai.

"This brings us one step closer to producing the world's premier super car," Shelby said after the Tuatara was introduced to the U.S. market last week in Pebble Beach, Calif.

The Tuatara is a new concept in design and use of carbon fiber technology. It also is a second-generation SSC automobile, in the tradition of Shelby's record-setting Ultimate Aero.

The Tuatara is shaped entirely of carbon fiber, with a seven-liter V-8 engine rated at 1,350 horsepower, rolling on one-piece carbon fiber wheels and atop carbon subframes with aluminum crash structures.

Its performance is touted as exceeding that of the Ultimate Aero, which boasted a tested top speed of 257 mph and 144 mph in 9.9 seconds on the quarter-mile, from a V-8 driveline that generated just under 1,300 horsepower.

The Tuatara is both less and more, especially more.

"We've upped the ante on all levels with the Tuatara," Shelby said, adding his new super car has more horsepower, more efficient aerodynamics, lighter overall weight and is fitted with more sophisticated electronics.

"The elegant but aggressive exterior styling is levels above the Ultimate Aero and our competitors in our niche industry," Shelby added.

The Tuatara's top speed is projected at 275 mph.

The Tuatara's price, "just in excess of $1 million," said Shelby, also exceeds the Aero's out-the-door-tag of about $750,000.

Shelby said he has five Tuatuaras presold, with deliveries promised for early 2013.

The Aero catapulted Shelby's company into world consciousness by achieving a Guinness world record in 2007 at 257 mph as the world's fastest production car.

Designed by renowned automobile designer Jason Castriota, the Tuatara provides SSC a special touch of elegance and prestige.

Shelby sought out Castriota for the project because of his work in producing Ferrari's P4/5 Pininfarina and Maserati's Birdcage.

The result is a super car distinguished by a rear wing, which inspired the name that belongs to a reptile in the wild of New Zealand.

Tuatara is the Maori word for a dinosaurlike lizard that has peaks on its back and is believed to be one of the fastest evolving species in the world.

Shelby said his newest creation not only has "winglets" on the back, but it also is evidence of how fast his company has taken super cars from concept to reality.

"Most manufacturers use the same basic model and body shape for up to 10 years, making only small refinements to it each year," Shelby said.

"After only three years in production with the Ultimate Aero, SSC's Tuatara is about to monumentally evolve into sophistication, design, aerodynamics and all-around performance," he said.

The introduction of the Tuatara was staged simultaneously with the opening of SSC Asia, Shelby's exclusive distributor for his cars in Asia.

The Shanghai unveiling had Shelby and Castriota in attendance.

Don Xu, president of SSC Asia, said reception for the newest Shelby car had been overwhelmingly positive in China.