ARES Design, for those who don't know, is a coachbuilding venture from Former Lotus CEO, Danny Bahar, and they've just opened a new 18,000 square-metre facility in Modena, Italy.
Unlike many other bespoke coachbuilders out there who focus on specific styles, such as sportscars for example, or even a particular brand, like Lister does with Jaguar, ARES design and develop vehicles of all makes and models for customers around the globe.
And so, with the opening of their new workshop, ARES has revealed a few of their new custom creations to mark the occasion. And it's an assorted mix if ever there was one, including bespoke luxury supercars, rough-and-tough off-roaders, and incredibly re-engineered classics.
ARES Bentley Mulsanne Coupe
First up is the ARES Bentley Mulsanne Coupe, requested by a customer who wanted a modern interpretation of the second-generation Brooklands. It turned out so well that the customer's buddy also ordered one.
If you don't know your Bentleys, the donor car is actually a rather large four-door. But, with some excellent CAD skills from a full 3D scan, a comprehensive conversion was executed. This involved reshaping the new carbon fibre roof and moving the B-pillars backwards to accommodate the extended doors. The interior also had a make-over including either modifying or creating completely new bespoke sections by ARES’s leather designers.
The completed vehicle weighs an incredible 400kg less, thanks to extensive use of aluminium and carbon fibre, plus a performance upgrade to the 6.75-litre V8 ensures the Mulsanne is no slouch. Which is what one would want from a large luxury coupe.
ARES Corvette Stingray
The brief for this re-imagined Corvette Stingray was to bring the 1964 machine into the modern era. And what could be better than dropping a massive 517bhp LS3 V8 into the engine bay? Hook up the five-speed transmission also from the LS3 to a Viper differential and boom, power is delivered seamlessly to the significantly wider modern wheels. Obviously, both the original body and chassis was restored and modified to accommodate accordingly.
The interior has been thoroughly updated too. It comprises a combination of both modern and rebuilt instruments, including a Bluetooth capable Alpine sound system that is controlled by the original old-school head unit, while the speakers are hidden from view. There is new leather throughout and the seats are completely refurbished for the comfort of your deep-pocketed butt.
ARES says that this one-off creation is the result of 3,500 hours of pain-staking work.
The X-Raid is a complete rework of the Mercedes G-class and ARES has already built 11 of them for customers. Constructed from carbon fibre, the body now weighs 200kg less and it's AMG V8 has been prodded with a stick too.
ARES inserted bespoke high-performance pistons and rods and a balanced crankshaft, then chucked in hybrid turbochargers for fun, reworked both the intake system and intercooler and bolted on a completely custom exhaust too. Claimed figures of 819bhp and 700lb ft of torque are impressive, to say the least.
The X-Raid has a KW Dynamic Damping Control suspension set up with three-way electronic adjustment, as well as axles portals to raise its ride height even further. Ares 22-inch forged wheels cover the Movit six-piston calliper brakes that slow things down.
Once again, leather abounds, cladding the reshaped dash and more, while two individual ‘VIP’ seats that replace the rear bench, because, you know, who needs to drive?
ARES Land Rover Defender
Engineered in conjunction with the British firm JE Motor Works, the Land Rover Defender features an extensively reworked V8 engine that can be had in both naturally-aspirated or supercharged forms, both mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Carbon wheel arch extensions accommodate it's widened track, the ride height has been raised by 50mm and features JE Motor Works springs and Fox heavy-duty dampers. To make sure the whole thing can come to a halt, AP Racing brakes have replaced the stock parts.
ARES either hate cows or just really love leather because the entire interior is adorned with the stuff – including the roof lining, for goodness sake. The floor is covered with chequer plate aluminium though. Apparently, there are 53 of these Defenders that are due to find homes, so they've clearly read the market correctly.
ARES Porsche 964 Targa
The last one on the list, following a similar path to the Corvette Stingray, is a 1991 Carrera 2 Targa. This project includes a full restoration before being equipped with components from more contemporary Porsches. The engine, transmission, axles, suspension have all been fitted from the 997 Carrera while inside it will boast such luxuries as air conditioning and the infotainment system from the Panamera.
And that's not all
ARES has already completed a one-off build of a GT3 RS Targa, a modern-day take on the De Tomaso Pantera based on the Lamborghini Huracan and, later in the year, it’s hoping to convert a Ferrari GTC4 Lusso into a homage to the Ferrari 412.
Pricing varies from £175 000 for the Defender to around £645 000 X-Raid with all the other vehicles slotting in between. So, if you've got a vehicle that needs some TLC, and a chunk of change in your pocket, maybe a visit to ARES should be on your to-do list.
Check out the video below of one of their previous G-Wagen projects in action.