“The entire world is about individualization, you personalize your complete life. It starts with your cup of coffee: you take it the way you want it, you put your clothes on the way you like, you furnish your house the way you like, you choose the car the way you like. Everything is personalized and individualized,” muses Ares Design CEO Dany Bahar.
His passion for the subject is palpable: “But when it comes to your car you always have the risk that others may have the same; they may choose the same black color and the same white leather and the same rims and the same carbon fiber. So it’s personalized but it’s not individualized, and we thought we needed to go one step further and offer the very high-end of luxury automotive buyers the opportunity to design their own one-offcars, to design a car for themselves that no one else has… or maybe just a lucky few have.”
The veteran automotive executive—formerly CEO of British marque Lotus, following stints at Ferrari and Red Bull—is sharing the genesis of his latest venture, named after the Greek god of war. The luxury Italian coachbuilder was founded on the mission to envision, design and execute one-offtotems of lust for the über-wealthy, and has quickly grown into a promising startup with 150 employees, some $70-million in investments and a modern headquarters in the heart of Modena—arguably the most important swathe of automotive earth.
“It’s not a new segment, we’re not inventing anything. It’s called coachbuilding, it’s been here for 100 years,” he explains. “We just try to make it, I don’t want to say affordable, because it’s still a lot of money that you have to spend for such a car, but accessible.”
The first vehicle that put Ares Design on the radar of hardcore enthusiasts worldwide was the Panther ProgettoUno, a stunning homage to the beloved De Tomaso Pantera. Built on the frame of a Lamborghini Huracán, the ’70s/’80s bedroom-poster staple was updated to the 21st century with not only cutting-edge V10s and Brembo brakes, but a loin-tugging shell that struck all the right notes between past and future.
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