• Mar 16, 2010
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.



[Source: Tri-City Herald]


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  • 22 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      He doesn't appear to be a very good designer (from the photos shown in this article), but at this point I guess nothing could really hurt Chrysler and practically anything might help...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can't imagine Castriota will bring any credibility to the table... maybe if you brought on some design engineers, such as the likes of Gordon Murray - then perhaps you would have a real contender on your hands.

      Let's hope it has nothing in common with that little pig - Mantide!
      • 4 Years Ago
      From the side the Mantide looks like a body-kitted LFA, and that's what I thought it was for a second. It's supposed to look ridiculous though, so that's acceptable.

      As far as the Aero is concerned, I've never really thought too strongly one way or the other about its looks, but the ridiculous lies spread by SSC concerning the Ultimate Aero EV's performance figures have ruined that company's reputation for me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Being the owner of the Mantide, I've yet to meet anyone in person when driving the car who isn't amazed by it. Every gas station it stops at its surrounded by 20 people. Lots of spaceship remarks, lots of positive "how cool that someone put this on the road" remarks. Its an extreme show car that really was engineered for the road and it is lots of fun to drive it around.

      Having just been at Geneva its also really striking how many cars there have taken design influences from Mantide. It may have shocked the blogosphere, but clearly car designers have been influenced by it.

      I think that the new SSC designed by Jason will really right the problem of there never having been an American supercar, that's strikingly a supercar design as opposed to just fast. Saleen S7 was ugly but effective, Ford GT was very un-inventive.

      American engineering is right up there, so I think that plus the design genius of Jason is going to be a powerful combo.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dan, do you know why Jason left (was pushed?) from Bertone?
        Have other copies of the Mantide been made/sold, and how do
        you feel about that?
      • 4 Years Ago
      SSC's performance is unparalleled, nothing has been able to touch it since they broke the record almost 3 years ago. And not just top speed, they also bested the Enzo in the slalom. Castriota brings a pedigree and following that SSC needs to take its place amongst other world-class supercar manufacturers (Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bugatti, etc). I'm excited to see what they come up with together. With SSC's engineering and Castriota's designs, it should be a showstopper.

      It's about time for an all-American supercar to dominate again.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Jason is one of the greatest who else can say they designed the:

      Maserati Birdcage
      Maserati Gran Turismo
      Ferrari 599
      Ferrari P4/5
      Rolls Royce Hyperion
      Stile Bertone Mantide

      I am sure he has done others that we never have seen but to say this guy is not one of the greatest designers is a joke.

      Looking forward to see what he will pen for SSC
      • 4 Years Ago
      I do feel a bit sorry for Shelby. I mean, if the car looked better, people would give it all kinds of credit for being the fastest production car on earth.

      Instead, people just refer to it as some generic kit car with a lot of horsepower, because that's what it looks like. Say what you will about it, it's a bit more impressive than your average kit car.

      If you're reading this, Shelby, remember to pay attention to the details. Take a look at a Zonda and develop your own.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Tom - I totally agree with you. 1200 horsepower is totally unusable, and not remotely interesting to me. I think the people ripping on cars with "only" 550 horsepower have never driven a 500+ horsepower car on the track before. Any car under 3500 lbs. with that kind of horsepower is almost absurdly fast, and actually feels less fun in many ways than something simple and light.

        Reviewers who drive cars all day have said the GT3, with its 435 horsepower, is "perfect". While I would prefer a Lotus over a Porsche, I have to say I agree with that range on the horsepower scale. It's fast enough to feel tremendously powerful, to drift with ease on a track, and to allow effortless overtaking, but not so much horsepower that it's simply a tire shredding exercise.

        Anyway, as those of us who go know, the fastest cars at the track are usually the ones with the best drivers, not the most horsepower. If you keep the driver even, a simple Radical or FF will dismantle the big-buck supercars for under $100K, and be much more fun on track.



        • 4 Years Ago
        i couldn't agree more
      • 4 Years Ago
      Jason's work on the P4/5 gives him a lot of "cred" in my book, and I hope things
      work out for him at SSC, and setting up his own studio. I'm still very curious if
      the fallout over the Mantide lead to him leaving Stile Bertone, or if other factors
      (such as the world recession) brought that on.

      I am finding more design elements I like in the Mantide the more I look at it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And sorry for the @*&$& formatting...
      • 4 Years Ago
      You mean INfamous. The Mantide (still makes me snicker) is heinous.
        • 4 Years Ago
        He created the P4/5 under Ken Okuyama... his other designs haven't shown the same elegance... which leads me to give more credit to Ken O for the P4/5!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        It will be good for SSC to get a new body that isn't just a copy of the Ascari K1, and others. Hopefully Castriota will defer to his more dignified designs, and less of the oddity.

        The general profile of the P4/5 wasn't bad at all. Some of the details, such as the boxy front end, and the up-swept kink at the B-pillar, are a tad bit odd. Not enough to ruin the design, but IMHO could have been better integrated.

        The Mantide is all crazy lines, everywhere, and nothing but. It is almost a parody of sports car design.

        The Rolls Hyperion concept was quite graceful. That is a different class of car than a hyper sports car, but the design was sound.

        The Maserati Birdcage redux was fantastic, though. All smooth, all sleek, no crazy line or angle out of place on the car, it was purity of form, and functional.

        If the Birdcage anniversary concept had actually been built, It might be right up on the top of my all-time list, with the Ferrari 288 GTO and the McLaren F1.

        It is hard to consider a concept car on that level, because it is almost more fiction and fancy than fact until it can be registered for the road, and is, or was available to purchase. Some concept cars are ready to go, but some are basically elaborate sculpture pieces, more than they are actual cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        but he did design the Ferrari P4/5. and that is an undeniable work of art.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'll agree. The Mantide is over designed to the extreme. That's OK sometimes when it results in something that is still attractive. But the Mantide is NOT. The P4/5 however is pretty cool. Especially as an homage to a classic racecar. And I like the Birdcage. It's retro-futuristic as in concept car from the 80's with a modern interpretation. Overall I think this is a good move. Just getting a designer in there is going to be a huge improvement over the current car's horrible design details.
      aaudii5150
      • 4 Years Ago
      After seeing Castriota's Mantide in person I have new found admiration for his design. I can't wait to see what he'll pen for SSC. If you put his forward thinking design with that much power...... Look out
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow, I NEVER thought I'd see the TCH being cited on Autoblog!

      People always flip sh*t at the SSC, but until you see one in person (parked or driving... I've seen both :D) you won't really recognize how pretty it is.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Put it side by side with Lamborghini Diablo and Aero appears to be like a replica with too much bodywork. Should the latter was that great in person, why isn't it on the cover page on any car magazine and SSC not send their car for testing since 2007?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well apparently when you get the yellow "An email was sent" banner, it really means your comment has been submitted for moderation.

        Sorry for the double post.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think it is awesome that Castriota is going to redesign the Ultimate Aero. He has designed some of the most iconic cars of our generation; Ferrari 599, Maserati Gran Turismo, P4/5, and the Mantide to name a few. Let me add that anyone who is not a fan of the Mantide has obviously not had the pleasure of seeing the car up close and in person because it is by far one of the sexiest cars on the road. I look forward to seeing what Castriota does with SSC.
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