ARES Performance—the coachbuilding company founded by ex-Lotus CEO Dany Bahar—has quickly made a name for itself as a customization house for luxury sports cars and SUVs. The company has only been in business for a few years, but has quickly made a name for itself by presenting prospective buyers with rebuilds that transform production cars into individual statements.
Like other automotive customization shops, though, ARES’ ambitions have become a lot more broad as they’ve matured. Having ex-AMG and Lotus team members onboard means that there was a lot of talent going to waste in simply altering the existing models of other carmakers. And so ARES has produced its own premier model, the Panther, which is entirely the product of the ARES team: designed and constructed at the company headquarters in Modena, Italy.
The Panther is the direct descendant of the DeTomaso Pantera (or ‘panther’) of the 1970’s and ’80’s. It is an interesting homage of especially the ’70’s, and the American and Italian design sensibilities that comprise the niche appeal of the classic Pantera, a blend of U.S. muscle car and Italian racecar. In resurrecting the singular design, the ARES team is staking out their own territory. Whether or not the spirit of the 1970’s extends to a solid customer collector base in 2017 is a matter for conjecture. But the Project car is a beautiful rendition and idealization of the era and the Pantera, having that gravitas of appearance peculiar to the original.
Most importantly, however, is the fact that this interesting choice is the opening salvo from an automotive manufacturer who is maturing at an astonishingly rapid rate. Bahar assures the curious that there’s much more to come in the new year.