The Ares S1 Speedster Is An Open-Top Corvette For The Elite

Reveal / 17 Comments

Ever looked at a C8 Corvette and wanted more?

It's no secret the Chevrolet Corvette has some European influence. Heck, it's had Euro influence since its inception. The name Zora Arkus-Duntov doesn't exactly sound uniquely American, now does it? The most recent iteration of America's answer to Ferrari is no exception. But what if you want a little less New Balance and a little more Giorgia Armani from your C8 'Vette?

That's where Ares Modena comes in. The Italian coachbuilder is run by ex-Lotus boss Dany Bahar, and they have exactly what you're looking for. Well, they have 24 units of exactly what you're looking for. This is the Ares S1 Speedster, and though the company won't say it, it's a Corvette for those who have an espresso and a cigarette for breakfast instead of a McMuffin.

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If this looks familiar to you, it's not just because the car is based on a new 'Vette. It's also because Ares has done a hardtop version before. But this car, says Ares, brings some important design updates that'll also be incorporated into the S1 coupe. Ares has built a new windscreen for the S1 to help tame some of that wind that's now in your hair, as well as revamped LED headlights, and a totally redesigned interior.

A new, triple-screen infotainment unit completely changes the look of the cockpit when compared to Chevy's original design, but that steering wheel certainly gives things away. Also changed are the seats, which if you ask us, look very Lamborghini. The exposed carbon tunnel that bisects the cabin is also a hint at the totally custom carbon body that underpins the S1 Speedster. Given the bespoke nature of the project, customers will be able to customize every facet of the S1, both in and out.

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In addition to that bespoke carbon fiber construction, there's a raft of mechanical changes that separate the S1 from its American counterpart. That carbon body has been designed to enhance cooling, and its aerodynamic construction should guarantee predictable and fun handling characteristics. The S1 is still powered by a "mid-mounted naturally aspirated V8 engine connected to an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox that sends power to the rear wheels" just like the coupe.

While power figures aren't mentioned, we're betting they're similar to the coupe, with around 705 horsepower at 6,450 rpm, 715 lb-ft of torque at 5,150 rpm, and a sky-high 9,000 rpm redline. Ares has said the coupe's exhaust note, which exits above the rear of the car, is supposed to sound like the V10 F1 cars of old. To us, that sounds a lot like Ares has gotten their hands on the new Z06's flat-plane powertrain, but Ares hasn't explicitly said so.

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So, what's the damage on all this bespoke, RWD, carbon-clad V8 goodness? Ares says if you have to ask, you can't afford it, though pricing is "communicated upon request." In all, it's obvious Ares is capable of building some exciting stuff, like the Lamborghini Huracan-based Ares Panther V10.

While we'd certainly prefer to have a big V10 behind our heads, the idea of an open-top, European roadster with American V8 noises coming out the back doesn't sound all too bad either. Should you want one of the 24 units, Ares says the order books for your tailor-made supercar are now open.

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