Johannesburg - I recently spent a few days in Modena, Italy, where I came across several weird and wonderful cars while driving along the Autostrada and walking the streets of the city..
Among the Ferraris, Alfa Romeos and Maseratis that I saw was a modified car (Merc G-Class) that had an Ares Design badge on it instead of the traditional Brabus one. I asked an Italian who was part of my tour group if this was some kind of kit for the car and he said no, it's a a local car company.
I'd never heard of Ares Design before this, so I decided to research the company. Turns out, the brand is quite popular among the rich and famous; known for bespoke vehicles based on modern platforms.
Founded by Waleed al Ghafari and Dany Bahar, Ares aims to please customers by building exactly what is requested; the cars of their dreams, if you will.
"Today’s business world is all about delivering solutions for people’s needs, even though they might not have realised that need before. Of course, what people think they ‘need’ is very individual," says Ares chief executive officer, Danny Bahar.
This is especially relevant when it comes to the luxury car industry, according to Bahar: "Years ago, I remember going for lunch with a friend of mine in the South of France and feeling his abject frustration as we rocked up to a car park littered with supposedly rare and exclusive supercars…and four Bugatti Veyrons! He thought he had something special only to find he was one of many."
Bahar's friend's disappointment was a defining moment. "I’d seen the potential with the Ferrari Corse Clienti and other special projects over the years, people want something different and I felt that, with the right team in place, we could meet that ‘need’."
Ares customers can actually design their own car, choose materials, colours, define the shape of the silhouette and even decide how many doors and windows it should have. "Just imagine actually being able to create some of the stunning concepts we see in Geneva that never hit the roads," Bahar adds.
One of the latest cars to come out of Ares is the Project 'Pony'.
"Ferrari is renowned not only for its sports cars but also for its four-seater models which it has been manufacturing since the 1960s and arguably the finest of the breed were the closely related 365 GT4 2+2, 400 and 412 models it produced during the 1970s and 1980s," Bahar says. "The styling reflected a new departure for Ferrari and the car’s Pininfarina-penned lines have a classical elegance that typifies the era. And with this in mind Ares Design has chosen to recreate the iconic Ferrari 412 for the modern era."
The Ares Design Pony will form part of the company’s 'reborn legends' portfolio and will be based on one of today’s iconic models, the GTC4Lusso.
It packs a 6.3-litre naturally-aspirated V12 with an output of 515kW and after extensive computer modelling will be hand-crafted with the finest grade carbon fibre not only endowing the car with stunning looks, but giving it a low kerb weight, too.
Inside the Pony, Ares Design will use the finest quality components with hand-crafted leather seats and dash architecture complimented by hand-stitched features and highlights.
"The carbon fibre coach-built Pony will have all the style and panache of the original 412, but the modern underpinnings of the GTC4Lusso endow it with the sort of performance and connectivity the original could only have dreamed of," Bahar says.
No pricing is available, but you can contact Ares through its website to see if they'll build one for you in right-hand drive format.