Bertone Mantide – click above for high-res image gallery

While definitely one of (if not the) fastest production cars in the world, the SSC Ultimate Aero has seldom been praised for its looks. Somewhat resembling just about every other supercar out there in one detail or another, the styling has charitably been described as everything from derivative to kit car-ish. Shelby Supercars wants to do something about that. Now that they've proven they can get their car up to its claimed top speed of over 255 mph, the next step is to get a few more of them out the showroom doors. To that end, the company is said to be courting supercar designer Jason Castriota to pen a fresh look.

Jerod Shelby, the "Shelby" in "Shelby Supercars," has apparently tapped Castriota to design SSC's next generation hypercar. If Castriota's name sounds familiar, and even if it doesn't, he is the designer of record behind the Pininfarina P4/5, the Bertone Mantide (shown above) the neo Maserati Birdcage and the Rolls-Royce Hyperion. Having recently left his post at Bertone, Jason will become the exclusive designer for SSC's next two cars and will add a degree of credibility to the team, or at least that's the plan. According to the Tri-City Herald, the cars will actually be badged with his name to hammer home that point.

While the new Aeros will carry a price tag double the current cars' at $800,000 to $900,000, the company says it will also develop a "little brother version" that will retail for just $300,000. Production targets are a dozen or so Aeros and about 50 Aero-lites per annum. The cars might also show up in a reality TV series that is being pitched to chronicle the project.


Related GalleryMonterey 2009: Bertone Mantide

[Source: Tri-City Herald]