Modern Pantera Project Features Audi DNA

If the measure of the economy is the number of bespoke, specialty and exotic cars debuting, then said market must be booming. Amongst a host of new offerings for the ultra rich is this modern interpretation of the venerable De Tomaso Pantera, commissioned by a well-off customer to be produced by ARES Design.

The De Tomaso Pantera had no real ties to Audi. Produced from 1971 to 1992, the original car was penned by Marcello Gandini for Ghia. It was produced at the De Tomaso factory in Modena, Italy, the very same town in which ARES Design’s own new facility is now based.

The original Pantera featured a mid-engine layout powered by a Ford V8. That Ford association ran strong, and the car was even sold through Lincoln Mercury dealers in the USA during its original 20-year production run.

In the vein of other recreations, such as the 2010 Lancia Stratos and James Glickenhaus’ Ferrari P4/5 from 2006, this new Pantera aims not to replicate the original, but to reinterpret it in a modern form. Unlike the Lancia Stratos, it appears that this car’s builder does not have licensing or rights to use the De Tomaso nor Pantera name. Thusly, it’s simply known as “Panther”.

Where this project comes into the Audi orbit is the Lamborghini Huracán platform on which this new car is based. For those who don’t already know, the Huracán utilizes the same corporate MSS matrix as the Audi R8, including that high-rev normally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 and twin clutch DSG (a.k.a. S-tronic in Audi speak). Whether or not the Panther utilizes an all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive drivetrain remains unclear as of this writing.

Inside, the cockpit of the Panther has been considerably changed from its donor. Gone are the aggressive components of the Lamborghini, and there’s no hint of the hyper modern teutonic R8 cockpit either.  Instead, it uses more traditional dashboard surface shaping handsomely accented with carbon fiber.

ARES Design itself is a recent project of former Lotus CEO Dany Behar. From all outward appearances, the firm appears to be building a wide array of projects for a selective clientele, from bespoke brawny Land Rover Defenders to re-bodied Mercedes-Benz G-wagens and Bentley Mulsannes. It also confirmed at a recent teasing of the car that the client who commissioned the car is open to a very limited run, just in case anyone out there is seeking their own modern Pantera.

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