Unveiled: April 1980
Chassis number: DP K901
This drivable concept car was developed to demonstrate the ability of the factory to produce a supercar for the eighties. William Towns styled the Bulldog soon after finishing working on the AM Lagonda and thus created the ultimate wedge shaped sports car design - with initial engineering work by AML chief engineer, Mike Loasby. When Loasby moved to work for De Lorean in 1979, the work to finish the car was given to Keith Martin who developed the car for the next three years. It was strongly supported by the then Managing Director of AML, Alan Curtis, who named the car after an aeroplane that he flew called the Scottish Aviation Bulldog. Within the factory it was known by the code name K-9, perhaps after Doctor Who's robotic dog.
Of particular note were the pair of massive power operated gullwing doors, cut into the floor, which took the height of the car from just over a metre to nearly two. The mechanism was similar to the system used to open and close the Volante hood. The Bulldog was both a long and wide car yet only seated two occupants; the first two seater Aston Martin since the DB4GT. Instrumentation was provided by what was then 'state of the art' LED technology and touch type sensors straight out of the new AM Lagonda.
The Bulldog was powered by a mid-mounted 5.3-litre V8 but with the addition of twin Garrett Air Research turbochargers and, perhaps unusually, with Bosch fuel injection. Power output on the test bed reached in excess of 700 bhp, although once installed in the car would have been in the region of 650 bhp. Theoretically this could have given an unlikely top speed of 237 mph, although well in excess of 200 mph would have been possible. During testing at MIRA 'only' 192 mph was recorded so Bulldog was for a time the fastest ever Aston Martin eventually losing out to the AMR1 with a confirmed 217 mph.
Ultra-low profile Pirelli P7 tyres were used all round fitted to Compomotive split-rim alloy wheels covered by aerodynamic flat wheel trims. Around the circumference blades were fitted to direct cooling air to the brakes, a feature that was also seen on successful Porsche endurance race cars.
Despite very serious consideration being given to a small production run of between 12 and 25 examples, the car remains totally unique. When AML changed hands in 1981, the new Chairman, Victor Gauntlett considered the company had more pressing problems and the Bulldog was sold off for a reputed £130,000 to a Middle Eastern Prince.
Despite being only an engineering exercise, interest in this drivable usable concept car remains extremely high.