Bear with us though, because while Bahar's name alone may be enough to make many a PHer click away, there is plenty about his latest venture to be intrigued by. So, having checked an oversized bag of scepticism into the hold of a Bologna-bound flight, we went to see what was going on for ourselves.
There is certainly a ring of Italian Jobbery about the Ares set up. A disarmingly charismatic foreigner, taking money from under the noses of the more established locals using his chosen medium; cars. However, while events at Lotus may have left our protagonist with a Charlie Croker-esque reputation in certain circles, it is important to remember that not only does every story have two sides, but also that Bahar and his Ares associates do have some unquestionably impressive credentials.
So what're they up to now? Well, as they would tell it, traditional coach building. Sitting in Bahar's minimalist office - there certainly aren't £30k worth of books here - he tells me: "We have no brand identity... We will never have Ares cars, we want to be known as the company which has realised the dreams of the customer and he can brand the car and the product as he wants... We sell our work, our craftsmanship, not the car itself."
Having been in business for two years now, Ares' claims to have delivered over 200 examples of that work, from bodykits to completely bespoke redesigns. The company, founded with a €25m sum and bankrolled by a group of seven investors - including Bahar's long-term business partner, Ares chairman Waleed Al Ghafari - reported a turnover of €30m last year and currently employs 110 people, although that is projected to rise to over 200 by the end of this year.
A lack of ego shouldn't be confused with a lack of ambition, though. For such a young company Ares' work is genuinely impressive in the metal. No, the finished products won't be to everyone's taste - Bahar even admitting that many are not to his - but the quality of craftsmanship should be, and he insists that enthusiasts shouldn't rush to judgement. "If you would look into the houses of all the car enthusiasts you would not go and say 'Well that's outrageous, the yellow sofa you have put in your living room', right? That's your right to choose to have your taste, we have to respect your taste, and so it is with the cars... It might not please everybody but it's something that we respect and also that other car enthusiasts should respect. I don't think there is right and wrong in design, there was never right and wrong, there is only I like it or I don't like it, that's pretty much it."
As design head Mihai Panaitescu puts it, "you have to place the car in its environment, what looks ridiculous in the UK might fit in Dubai." When I ask whether the opinions of petrolheads matter to him, he replies with a smile and a shrug, "I do care, and sometimes I am the person on the forums saying 'Jesus Christ!' But the people on the forums aren't the ones paying us."
Again, that word taste comes up, but every project that Ares works on is commissioned by a client and paid for before it leaves the factory, with the option for a limited production run if the client agrees and the demand is readily apparent. "Defenders have been modified for, I don't know, 30 or 40 years, but I don't think there is a product out there that has been modified in that detail, so we expect this to be a success as well for us", enthuses Bahar.
A motorbike based on BMW's R NineT has reached completion, with a speedboat and mysterious open-wheeled project coming soon as well. It was in classic cars that Ares found its biggest revenue driver last year, though, combining already timeless design with the convenience of modern technology. Case in point a 1966 Corvette Stingray with C7 chassis, electrics, brakes and a 525hp LS3 V8. And the Porsche 964 sitting on the production line, waiting to be similarly fused with 997 components including a PDK, air-con and the Panamera's super-wide nav screen. Purists might call it butchery, but Ares calls it big business.
Bags packed with significantly less pessimism than before, it's refreshing to leave knowing that, amongst the many companies willing to simply plaster cars with carbon fibre, Ares genuinely seems to be the real deal. Whether its creations have merit will be up to individuals to decide for themselves, but this is certainly no half-arsed cut and shut, rather a genuinely dedicated group of people, using state of the art technology and a great deal of skill to realise the far-reaching visions of their clients.