Creating a memorable car can be tough for manufacturers, which is why many are diversifying in terms of approach and style. A good example is Mondena-based manufacturer Ares Design, which was launched by former Lotus chief Dany Bahar. In recent years, the company have worked on a number of vehicles that are pushing the boundaries of car creation and we’re looking into the history of the company and the kind of designs they’re working on.
Concept to creation
After Lotus, Bahar and friends decided to start a car customisation business in 2014 that avoided “the misery of homologation.” The company went with a warrior fighting approach, which is where the Ares name and helmet came from to signify the God of War. The aim of Ares was to improve the design of existing cars and establish itself as a marque that could meet the specifications of its client base. What started as a business of five has evolved to a team of 110 Italian artisans.
According to Bahar, the company is a “concept to creation” coachbuilding factory that makes the most of the in-house creativity to turn your car into something memorable. Bahar noted two popular trends that Ares is taking into account. The first is that unique cars seem so desirable when finished there’s a demand to progress them into batches of five to 15 cars, while the second is for classic car owners to maintain the look of their vehicles by adding modern technology. Bahar said “we’re not reinventing the wheel. But this business is leading us to a position we never expected.”
A diverse offering
Ares drew attention when they announced they were creating a modern version of the 1970s De Tomaso Pantera called Project Panther. The car is going to go on sale in the Autumn of 2018, and the company are working on plenty of other stunning motors. This includes a Porsche 911 ‘GT3 Targa,’ which combines the convenience of a Targa with the styling of a GT3 RS.
Another project is a 1966 Corvette Stingray that needed 3500 hours of design work and reengineering. This was done to fit a 520 bhp LS2 big-block engine and a stylish interior that incorporates modern tech. It’s estimated the client paid £350,000 in order to make it happen.
Ares are also building a batch of modified Rover V8s for a British client. A lot of the under-skin engineering has been carried out by Coventry-based manufacturer JE Motor Works.
With a range of projects, Bahar is confident in Ares’ future. “We have lots of customers and do you know what’s most surprising? They hardly talk about the money. It’s almost beside the point. We talk about the desires people have. And the fun of making it happen. There are other bigger-name businesses than ours who charge much more than we do for projects like this, but they seem to be so grudging about it that customers don’t enjoy the experience. We they come to us, we make absolutely certain they will.”