Bulldog

Bulldog Description

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.

Bulldog Specification

Body / Coachwork
Two door two seater, mid-engined sportscar
Electro-hydraulically powered gull-wing doors
Multi tubular chassis with backbone and integral roll over bar, diagonally braced. Uses 4 and 2 inch diameter thin wall steel tube
Handcrafted aluminium alloy body panels over light steel framework
Five quartz headlamps: three main, two dip. Headlamps covered by dropping panel
Interior
Full Connolly leather interior and Wilton carpets
Fully air conditioned
Seats individually made and designed for driving comfort and lateral support
Backlit LCD digital instruments, headings illuminated by luminiferous panels and fibre optics
National Panasonic stereo radio cassette
Engine
Mid mounted all-alloy 90° V8, 5,340 cc, two-valves-per cylinder, twin overhead camshafts per bank.
Bore 100 mm. Stroke 85 mm. Compression ratio 7.5: 1
Bosch mechanical fuel injection system
Twin T04B Garrett AiResearch turbochargers and wastegates. Boost pressure 12 lb/sq.in
Power/torque initially not quoted other than '+60% of V8 Vantage' therefore estimated +/- 600 bhp, 550 to 600 lb ft. Later mods claimed to increase power to 700 bhp @ 6,000 rpm
Four aluminium fuel tanks, spaced symmetrically at the centre of the car. Filled with 'Explosafe' safety foil mesh
Transmission
ZF five-speed two shaft gearbox and transaxle unit type 5DS 25-2 connected to the back of the engine. Multidisc self-locking differential
10½" AP single plate clutch
Final drive: 3.20:1
Steering
Direct rack and pinion with no assistance. 2.25 turns lock to lock
Wheels and Tyres
Compomotive split rim wheels, front 15 x 8.5, rear 15 x 11
Wheel trims designed to extract air to cool front brakes and engine compartment
Pirelli P7 radials, front 225/50 VR15, rear 345/35 VR15
Michelin radial space-saver spare wheel
Suspension
Front: independent, unequal length double wishbones, Koni co-axial telescopic fully adjustable dampers with coil springs. Adjustable anti-roll bar
Rear: De Dion axle longitudinally located by four trailing arms and laterally by modified Watts linkage. Koni co-axial telescopic fully adjustable dampers with coil springs
Brakes
Front: ventilated discs 11.67" diameter. Lockheed type CP2279 four caliper
Rear: ventilated discs 11.67" diameter mounted inboard. Lockheed type CR2409 four caliper
Girling tandem master cylinder with integral servo
Dimensions
Length: 4,724 mm
Width: 1,917 mm
Height: 1,092 mm
Kerb weight: 1,454 kg
Wheelbase: 2,769 mm
Front track: 1,562 mm
Rear track: 1,588 mm
Fuel tank capacity: 113 litres
Cd: 0.34
Performance
Maximum speed: 192 mph
Acceleration: 0-60 mph 5.1 seconds
Acceleration: 0-100 mph 10.1 seconds

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