An Italian boutique supercar-maker gears up to make a good first impression

Although it’s just a few years old, ARES Design is already creating a bit of a name for itself. Founded back in 2014 by Dany Bahar, former CEO at Lotus, the firm started out as a customization shop for high-end automobiles. Now, however, ARES Design is looking to break into the world of boutique supercar production, and Project Panther is its first effort to step up to the big leagues.

Continue reading to learn more about the ARES Project Panther.

What Makes the ARES Project Panther Special

2019 ARES Project Panther Exterior
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New big cat on the prowl in the land of raging bulls and prancing horses,” the company declares in its press release.

Previous work from Ares Design includes the custom X-Raid up-fit for the Mercedes-AMG G63, as well as upgrades for the Chevrolet Corvette (both the 1964 and 2017 model years) and custom exterior work for the Bentley Mulsanne. What’s more, ARES Design offers new exterior concepts for the Tesla Model S, such as a shooting brake design and a cabriolet design, and it’s creating a run of customized Land Rover Defenders as well.

That said, Project Panther is arguably the company’s most ambitious effort to date. Slotting in as ARES Design’s new halo car, Project Panther is part of the firm’s goal to provide “limited-run exquisite coach-built cars that aim to bring client dreams to life.”

Impressively, the company also aims to challenge Ferrari and Lamborghini head-on. “New big cat on the prowl in the land of raging bulls and prancing horses,” the company declares in its press release.

That’s a helluva’ call out, so Project Panther better bring the heat - no easy task considering this is ARES Design’s first standalone model.

The project started life as a re-imagined and modernized De Tomaso Pantera, as commissioned by a particularly enthusiastic (and unnamed) ARES customer. Now, it looks to evolve into an entire line of custom vehicles.

2019 ARES Project Panther Exterior
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The exterior design draws heavily from the Pantera, with a sharp, wedge-like exterior that exudes style and presence.

Each Project Panther starts life as a modern Lamborghini Huracan, which is an appropriate fit considering the inspiration. However, to this ARES Design adds an entirely new body. The exterior aesthetic draws heavily from the Pantera, with a sharp, wedge-like exterior that exudes style and presence. To our eye, Project Panther manages to combine the old school and the new school in perfect proportions, creating something that’s unique, yet timeless. Up front, for example, Pantera fans will be quick to notice the pop-up headlight mechanism, which comes with LED lighting elements that add a splash of modernity. We love it.

All told, the new carbon fiber exterior manages to cut a whopping 220 pounds compared to the stock Lambo. That also includes larger exterior proportions, both in terms of length and width.

And just in case anyone wants to probe the upper limits of this car’s speed potential, ARES Design took care to prototype and wind-tunnel-test the final product, and it reportedly comes back with the same aero balance and levels of downforce as the stock Lamborghini.

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Overall, we think Project Panther’s cabin is far more elegant than the jet fighter-esque Lambo.

Unsurprisingly, ARES Design blessed the Panther with a fresh interior as well, matching high-end upholstery and leather with a new dash design. The center console looks unchanged, but overall, we think the cabin is far more elegant than the jet fighter-esque Lambo. Of course, buyers will undoubtedly have oodles of options to choose from when kitting theirs, including new colors, materials, and more.

The oily bits will be familiar to anyone who knows Lambos, as the Panther gets the same Huracan-sourced mid-mounted V-10 powerplant as the Raging Bull equivalent. That said, output is reportedly uprated to 641 horsepower, a 39-pony increase compared to the 602-horsepower LP610-4 Coupe. Torque remains static at 413 pound-feet.

Muscle meets the ground by way of a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, high-performance AWD system, and sticky Pirelli P Zero rubber. Put your foot down, and expect a run to 60 mph in about 2.7 seconds. Top speed should exceed the 200-mph mark.

Despite the litany of upgrades, Project Panther is still registered as a Lamborghini for road use.

2019 ARES Project Panther Exterior
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Project Panther is currently under development at ARES Design’s new headquarters in Modena, Italy - the same town Ferrari calls home. Pricing slots in at around $600,000.

Project Panther is currently under development at ARES Design’s new headquarters in Modena, Italy - the same town Ferrari calls home. According to a recent post from our friends at Autocar, the car was recently spied undergoing public tests as a camouflaged prototype.

The article also says that a “limited-build run”will kick off this October, with pricing slotting in at 515,000 euros, or $597,195 at current exchange rates (8/8/2018). Only 21 examples will be produced, every one of which is already spoken for.

Finally, Autocar teases that ARES Design will release an “even higher-ranking model” in the next 12 months.

Impressive stuff, no doubt about it. If the Autocar report is correct, then clearly ARES Design has no problems convincing folks to drop an extra $350K to make their Lamborghini that much more special. Which begs the question - what’s coming next?

Personally, we’re digging the fresh exterior and interior goods on offer here, but we also want to see what the company can do in terms of performance upgrades. From there, the sky truly is the limit.

Further Reading

2015 - 2016 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2016 Lamborghini Huracan.

1971 - 1991 De Tomaso Pantera Exterior
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Read our full review on the 1971 - 1991 De Tomaso Pantera.

Press release

December 12, 2017

New big cat on the prowl in the land of raging bulls and prancing horses

ARES “Project Panther” announced as ARES Design’s first car to be developed and built in the new Modena headquarters

ares-project-pantera

De Tomaso Pantera confirmed for 2018 production from ARES’ new Modena factory

“Project Panther” positioned within ARES Design’s “Bespoke Creations” coach-building strategy alongside recently announced ARES Design Coupe for Bentley Mulsanne

ares-project-pantera

Following the recent announcement of ARES Design’s brand-new design and production headquarters in Modena, Italy and confirmation of ARES’ latest 2017 projects – the X-Raid and Design Coupe for Bentley Mulsanne - ARES has now confirmed its first new project to be wholly designed, engineered and built in the new factory in 2018: codenamed ARES Project Panther.

‘Project Panther’ sits within ARES’ core service of “Bespoke Creations”: very limited-run exquisite coach-built cars that aim to bring client dreams to life with superb attention to detail and rapid project delivery from ARES Design’s unique mix of traditional skills and values, and modern engineering and manufacturing technologies.

ARES Design’s in-house design team, led by Mihai Panatescu, set-out with one goal in mind: to deliver a future classic that reflects the essence of an iconic cars’ exterior style and marry it with an equally revered existing chassis. The first 2018 car produced under “Bespoke Creations” will be a stunning supercar that takes inspiration from the De Tomaso Pantera and combines with one of the truly great modern chassis.

ares-project-pantera

Dany Bahar, Founder and CEO, ARES Design said: “This factory and Project Panther give a clear sign of our intent to design, engineer and produce the world’s most stunning bespoke and coach-built cars.

“We started ARES three years ago with unprecedented demand to work on the personalisation of clients’ cars, and have satisfied well over 200 customers with unique interiors, exterior design elements, bodywork engineering and performance upgrades. Our new Modena facility allows us to move above and beyond this normal personalisation service, bringing together new design and engineering technologies, teams of skilled craftsmen, and passionate experts who have joined us from local supercar businesses.

“We’re not restricted by corporate processes or fixed views on how ‘our’ cars should be seen, nor are we limited by technology and facilities that restrict what we can do for customers. Our new facility in Modena works perfectly for the growing market of special requests from car enthusiasts and Project Panther is the first of a portfolio of cars – and other surprises - that we will be presenting at an official opening in January.”

The ARES Project Panther is undergoing final design and aerodynamic and crash-test engineering assessment at the Modena facility, and will be built in very limited numbers, going on sale in the second half of 2018. In the meantime, and to whet the appetite of car fans everywhere, ARES has revealed a new series of images that have already been shown in private to clients, leading to a number of confirmed deposits.

Bahar continued: “Our strategy is unique in the automotive world: no other business – whether OEM, styling house, or personalisation specialists - offers the full range of services from personalization to full coach-building under one roof with a growing global network of market specialists that we believe satisfies every possible customer desire. Project Panther feels right now like our “halo car”, but I can guarantee there is much more to come in 2018!”

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