Ares Design Panther testing begins, modern De Tomaso

Remember that gorgeous design pitch by Ares Design showing a modern interpretation of the retro De Tomaso Pantera? Well, the company is building it and has in fact built one. Introducing the Ares Design Panther.

Ares has built a running prototype and it looks like it’ll carry over pretty much the exact same beautiful design as the original digital pitch. The Italian design firm has commenced test driving a prototype version of the Panther in Modena.

The idea behind the car was to recreate the old school charm and charisma of the original De Tomaso, while blending in modern underpinnings and wrap it in full carbon fibre. In fact, the chassis is made from aluminium and carbon fibre as well.

In the engine compartment sits a 5.6-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine derived from the 5.2L V10 seen in the Lamborghini Huracan. Tuned by Ares, the unit produces 485kW (650hp) and 560Nm. However, the most significant part of the Panther is its voice, Ares says. Matteo Vezzani, technical director at Ares, describes:

“From the very first statement of intent to the shakedown, people have been fascinated by this project and I totally understand why… The sound produced from the naturally aspirated V10 engine is nothing short of a roar. Super sporty, throaty and head turning, the team have done an incredible job in creating a stunning sounding, beautiful looking car.”

Details surrounding the performance and acceleration are unclear, but with a lightweight structure and a screaming V10 engine, we’re sure it’s not going to be slow. Ares says the throttle response has been improved and there’s sharper gearshifts from the seven-speed dual-clutch auto, compared with the Lamborghini we’re guessing.

Ares Design is planning to build just 21 examples of the car to sell on the market. Building any number is exciting enough, though. Production will commence in October this year, with each car set to take around 24 weeks to complete. Speaking about the project, founder and CEO (and former Lotus boss), Dany Bahar, said:

“This is a really exciting moment for us. Within just six months of announcing the Panther project we have our test car on the road and are ready to present to the world our expression of a car that I dreamt of as a kid. The ARES Panther will be the perfect blend of old school charm and charisma, underpinned with an iconic modern chassis, and clothed in full carbon.”

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice.com.au. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.

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