“Complimenti...bellissimo,” mutters the Italian woman who has emerged from nowhere as we park the Ares Panther ProgettoUno in a quiet church square to duck out of the searing heat of the hottest day of the Italian summer. While this reads like a scene straight out of central casting, it isn’t. In this part of Italy—the hills above Modena—the love of cars runs deep.
“È un Ferrari?” she asks, in between shooting myriad pictures and calling her grandson. It seems a reasonable question, given the Panther’s striking appearance and the noise ricocheting off the medieval walls as it’s fired up and repositioned for the next shot.
My broken Italian struggles to articulate precisely what the Panther actually is. I offer ‘Ares’ and ‘Carrozzeria.’ She shrugs. I complicate things further by lobbing Lamborghini into the mix...confusion turns into an assumption that this moronic Englishman has had too much sun. So, it’s probably time for a recap.