Despite a greater variety of exclusive hypercars to choose from than ever before, business is booming for companies offering limited-run coachbuilt vehicles, one-off restomods or unique performance upgrades. From family run affairs to manufacturers themselves, names such as Mansory, Kahn and Gemballa have been joined in the public consciousness by the likes of Singer, Automobili Amos and Paul Stephens, as well as Aston Martin Works, McLaren Special Operations and Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur. What used to amount to a carbon fibre bodykit and a remap now involves considerable expertise, and cutting-edge craftsmanship.
It is into this market that Modena-based Ares Design is trying to break. We've already seen the company's 991 GT3 Targa, its take on the future of the G-Wagen and a modern Huracan-based Pantera, but now it's turning its attention to Ferrari.
The formula in this instance is relatively straight forward. Take one Ferrari GTC4Lusso, replace the bodywork with bespoke carbon fibre panels, add some pop-up headlights and some new wheels, and more than double the price. Of course, it's rather more than that in reality, and a lot of design and engineering work goes into making that process possible. Whether it's enough to justify the expected £810,000 price tag, though, will rather depend on the size of your bank balance.
Beyond its retro-rebrand, Project Pony retains the same all-wheel drive running gear and 690hp 6.3-litre V12 as its GTC4Lusso donor, which is no bad thing. It propels the Ferrari from 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 208mph, though with the amount of carbon fibre used in the Ares build, there's a chance those numbers could be improved upon.
Inside, Project Pony sports a new dashboard and a reupholstered cabin including - in a clear effort to get into Matt Bird's good books - a round steering wheel to replace the flat bottomed Ferrari item (they've certainly succeeded - MB). There's no word on production numbers yet, but they're likely to be extremely limited and, at more than twice the price of a brand new GTC4Lusso, it'll take a very specific buyer to be sufficiently motivated by the car's appeal. Whether that buyer is you or not, though, there's no denying how good the updated 412 design looks; so much so that it's got us wistfully eyeing up an original - finally its time has come!