Whether you base your own idea of a mid-engine performance car on a humble Pontiac Fiero or exotica like a Lamborghini Huracán, you can be sure that your unique creation will be solid regardless of your skillful modifications. But what about one based on the new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8?
Headquartered in the Modena area, like Maserati and Pagani Automobili, Dany Bahar's Ares Design first made the news by re-introducing the pop-up headlights with its Huracán-based Pantera for the 2020s, only to continue with the S1 Project based on the much more affordable C8 Corvette. Having no relation to the reborn De Tomaso Automobili company that's now moving to America, Ares Design had to rebadge its modern-day Pantera as the Panther ProgettoUno, yet the final product looks just as cool as the renders suggested almost three years ago.
Next up, Ares intends to go one step further by creating two GM-powered S1 variants, a wild coupe dressed as a hypercar, and an even bolder speedster to chase Ferrari's, Aston Martin's, McLaren's and Lamborghini's.
Past the Panther which ain't a Pantera the same way as to how Grand Theft Auto's Lampadati Viseris isn't, Ares says that the S1 Project was inspired by the racing prototype designs of the 1970s and '80s, resulting in a full carbon fiber exterior over C8 mechanicals that's CFD-tested to be as aero efficient as a supercar should be. In fact, Ares goes on to describe the S1 as something with the looks of a hypercar, the performance of a supercar and the accessibility of a sports car. Bigger doors, I guess?
What's for sure is that after taking this many steps into the concept car universe, it's no Corvette anymore.
Since there's no point in stopping there, while we wait for the regular C8 Convertible to hit the road, Dany Bahar, the man who once dreamt of a five-model Lotus lineup also presented a speedster version of their proposal called the S1 Project Spyder.
Using the same "virtual canopy" idea that McLaren introduced with the Elva, the roofless S1 features two deployable wind deflectors for "a calm driving environment."
Ares also throws in its own ECU and other performance bits to achieve a maximum engine speed of 8,800 rpm, 715 horsepower, and a 0-62 run in 2.7 seconds. If these ever make it off Ares' computer screens, both the Coupe and the Spyder will be limited to just 24 units, taking the C8's mid-engine platform to well into Ferrari territory by starting at $591,000.
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