Ares Design Panther may face problems with Apollo

Ares Design has released today the best images so far of the Panther Project. Or P1, as the company calls it. Apart from being built over the structure of a Lamborghini Huracán, the vehicle is a pretty clear hommage to the De Tomaso Pantera. And this is where things start to get complicated for Ares Design.

The brand De Tomaso was bought by Ideal Team Ventures in April 28, 2015, according to the Italian newspaper La Stampa. A kind of bargain, since it was sold for € 1,05 million. If you did not connect the dots, this is the same company that controls Apollo Automobil. At the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, Ideal Team Ventures presented both its cars, the Apollo IE and the new De Tomaso Pantera, in an unusual way: they drove around Palexpo. It is a pity we do not have pictures of the cars in Geneva streets, but it appears in these pictures obtained by Auto Express. And also on patent images first published by AutoGuide. These ones:

The company that will produce De Tomaso cars is officially called De Tomaso Automobili Limited. It has already filled patents for Pantera, Mangusta and the new trademarks for the Italian brand. The one on the right, which will probably identify the automaker, has been registered in Septembre 25, 2018 in Europe and in the USA. The one in the middle dates from October 18, 2016. And the one on the left, strangely enough, has been registered in October 14, 2010, way before the brand was bough. Probably because it was from the company Gian Mario Rossignolo created in 2009, when he bought the brand. In other words, it must be one of the assets Ideal Team Ventures ended up acquiring with the brand itself.

Apart from the US registration, which is still pending, very likely because that patent office demands a real product to back the brand, all others are active and in the name of De Tomaso Automobili Limited.

Unaware of what had happened to the Ares Design P1, MotorChase got in touch with Ares Design and Ideal Team Ventures, or, more precisely, with Apollo Automobil. We had the impression the companies could have decided to work together, but that’s not the case. Ryan Berris, general manager at Apollo, sent us the following response:

We are the rightful trademark owners and have no affiliation or relationship with ARES Design and they were infringing on our intellectual property and are not sanctioned to do anything with relation to De Tomaso.

Ares Design told us “it’s not our policy to comment on other people’s businesses”, referring to Apollo Automobil, but also stated the P1 would be unveiled later this year as part of the Legends Reborn Series. They also said it was doing very well, that it will be very limited and will have several variations. When confronted with Berris’ statement, Ares Design did not get in touch anymore. When asked if Apollo had tried to contact Ares Design in order to stop them from doing their Panther and about more details of the DTProjectP, as the new Pantera is currently called, Berris did not reply to our message as well. At least not until this article was originally written.

If the P1 was to be presented at the end of the year, why did Ares Design decide to show its pictures today? An attempt to anticipate the car and get it done before any legal problem arises? Will Ideal Team Ventures have a legal case against Ares Design for a car that does not say it is a De Tomaso, nor that it is a Pantera (Panther in Portuguese, Spanish and Italian), even if the references to the car made by Alejandro De Tomaso are so evident?

The Ares Design Panther is 4.67 m long, 1.98 m wide, 1.19 m tall and has a 2.62 m wheelbase. As we stated before, it is based on a Lamborghini Huracán, so it uses the same 5.2-liter V10, able to deliver 485 kW. And, unlike the Pantera, it is an all-wheel drive car, what may disappoint some fans of the original rear-wheel drive supercar, even if it is clearly just a tribute, not a replica.

What is pretty clear is that, almost like Hispano Suiza, we have two companies willing to sell a car based on the De Tomaso Pantera. Unlike the old Spanish brand, it is pretty clear who has the rights over the brand: Ideal Team Ventures. Will it prevent Ares Design from producing their limited series car? Will they reach any sort of agreement? We’ll get back here to tell you in case we any news. And it seems we’ll have plenty.

Gustavo Henrique Ruffo

I have been an automotive journalist since 1998 and have worked for many important Brazilian newspapers and magazines, such as the local edition of Car and Driver and Quatro Rodas, Brazilian's biggest car magazine. I have also worked for foreign websites, such as World Car Fans and won a few journalism prizes, among them three SAE Journalism Awards and the 2017 IAM RoadSmart Safety Award. I am the author of "The Traffic Cholesterol", a book about bad drivers that you can buy at Hotmart, Google Play, Amazon and Kobo.

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