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More Pictures and Info on the SSC Ultimate Aero II

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On: Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 9:26AM | By: Chris Weiss

More Pictures and Info on the SSC Ultimate Aero II

Well, it's now mid-October, and September came and went without any big unveil event for the SSC Ultimate Aero II. After canceling a VIP event over the summer, SSC promised that it would introduce the world to its latest world-record-aspiring creation. Early last month, leaks of a Top Gear magazine feature made their way onto the Internet, followed by the actual feature in Top Gear magazine. But, there was no big event as we were looking forward to. It appears SSC was content with making the new Ultimate Aero official via Top Gear—an odd move in this day and age of big, public unveils with solid Web presence.

Well, luckily Top Gear is picking up the slack. This week, it released a few more pictures of the sultry, blue-eyed Ultimate Aero II and filled in some additional details.

The juiciest bit is the full engine details of the SSC: a 6.8-liter twin-turbo V8. That engine pushes the redline up to 9,000 rpm and puts out 1,350 horses, nearly 200 more than the original Ultimate Aero. The transmission is carried over from the first Ultimate Aero, albeit with the addition of optional paddle shifting, and the wheelbase and dimensions are virtually identical to the first car.

In addition to packing 150 extra horses over the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, the Ultimate Aero is significantly lighter. SSC used all carbon fiber with just a tad of aluminum in the car, most notably in the one-piece carbon fiber wheels that weigh less than 13 pounds a piece. Weight is kept to 2,600 lbs. When compared to the Veyron SS, the SSC packs nearly double the power-to-weight ratio, something that will undoubtedly prove key in making its projected 275 mph top speed official.

In case you've missed the unfolding drama, SSC originally teased its new car days after the Bugatti Veyron SS pushed the official world record to 267.8 mph. That run in early July beat the original Ultimate Aero's 256 mph record in 2007. SSC has since made it quite clear that it plans to challenge Bugatti and has the tool to do it with.

In Top Gear's coverage, SSC founder Jerod Shelby admits that the Bugatti's newly achieved crown really played to its advantage: "No, our new car isn't a response to Bugatti, because we didn't know they'd break the record again. But their timing is exactly right for us as we're about to launch the car that will get it back."

World-record cars of recent years don't have much of a reputation for stunning looks. The original Ultimate Aero was one of the most derivative supercars ever, and the Bugatti Veyron has always been a polarizing design that some love and some despise. Now that we've gotten to see more of the new SSC, we might just be witnessing the birth of a new era in which world-record cars are as pleasing to look at as they are fast. Designed by Jason Castriota who previously led such notable projects as the Bertone Mantide and Maserati Birdcage, the new SSC is anything but derivative. From its huge, blue headlights to its rear wings, the SSC Ultimate Aero doesn't look anything like the original, nor any other car that we can recall.

Such a step up in style and speed won't come cheap, but it will come much cheaper than the Veyron SS. The Ultimate Aero II will cost customers just under a million bills—$970,000 to be exact—when it goes on sale next year.

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