One thing you can’t say about Dany Bahar is that he’s not ambitious and with ARES Design perhaps we will finally see the full un edited Dany Bahar vision.
Back in January Private Motor Club were invited to Italy for the launch of their new Modena headquarters. In three years ARES have moved on from the typical SUV bespoke projects that helped start the company to where we are today in their impressive 18,000 square meter facility that contains some fabulous looking coach worked specials that really demonstrate the direction ARES want to move in.
The ARES Design Technical Centre (ADTC) has the potential to produce up to 300 bespoke cars a year and can take a customers sketch from ‘Concept-to-Creation’ without leaving the centre. Dany sees realistic production numbers more around the 200 mark.
You can’t deny that the market is there, billionaires have more than doubled in the last eight years and customers are increasingly looking for something special to stand out from the crowds, limited run cars sell out overnight and the big manufacturers can’t produce the cars quick enough to supply the demand.
Amongst the first vehicles that ARES are sharing with us is a re-imagined De Tomaso Pantera called the Panther it’s built onto a Lamborghini V10 base. It looks fantastic from the front, a little fussy at the back for my tastes but this is a pre-production model we are looking at so I won’t pass final judgement just yet. A teaser image had already caused quite a stir and our post on Instagram is swiftly getting lots of positive comments, people clearly like it.
Dany gives us a personal tour of the facility, there’s a 964 Targa being built to house a 997 engine, running gear, PDK box and interior, it’s a very interesting proposition for those that require the creature comforts of a modern car in a classic look. Next up is a gorgeous Corvette Stingray, the brief was to bring the car up to date and 3500 hours later this one-off car is quite something. A full restoration including the fitting of a LS3 engine has transformed the car into a modern classic.
Around the next corner we catch a sneak peek of a Tesla Model S Shooting-Brake, it really does work well, after driving one regularly Dany felt that the interior was left somewhat lacking against its German rivals and that the hatchback design was a little safe. Thanks to their in-house leather shop ARES are able to re-upholser cars with relative ease.
Along the immaculate production line is a beautiful coach-built Bentley Mulsanne coupe. It looks so good i question why it hasn’t already been made by Bentley, harking back to the Bentley Brooklands coupe the lines work really well with the longer front door allowing ease of access for any rear passengers.
I’m lucky enough to be offered the keys and try the Bentley out. It’s yet to be fully finished off but feels and drives just as a Bentley should, the ride is a little sportier than i remember from the standard Mulsanne but then perhaps it should be in coupe form. It certainly catches the eyes of the Italian locals as we cruise around the back streets of Modena out on to the Autostrada to stretch its legs. It’s no secret that i do like large luxury cars and the team at ARES have been very sympathetic with the design of the car.
After completing a full scan of the donor car ARES set about computer modelling the coupe, re-profiling the C-pillars, moving the B-pillars and dropping the roof line to give a sleek look, even the roof was replaced. Underneath, crash structures were replaced to ensure the car remains as strong as the original and thanks to this it carries full TüV approval.
The technical team at ARES remapped the ECU to extract more power and the car actually weighs 450kg less than the standard model thanks to the use of aluminium and carbon fibre. If you fancy one, expect to spend over €700,000.
Perhaps for me the best is saved until last, upstairs in the presentation gallery there is a Ferrari GTC4 Lusso parked next to a Ferrari 412. The project is called ‘Pony’ and at the request of a customer who owns the two cars they designed a modern interpretation of the increasingly stylish Ferrari 412. Using the GTC4 Lusso as a donor the cgi renderings make for graphic viewing, the car is a real triumph and i can’t wait to see the finished car.
Dany has character – something we so often find lacking these days in high profile figures – and you could call him a dreamer, but it’s clear that there are some really exciting products coming out of the new facility in Modena and I can’t wait to see them.