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Aston Martin

by Vincent De Rossi | Oct 30, 2020

Bulldog


In the 1970s, the motoring world went mad for wedges, and Italy was leading the world with examples from Lamborghini, Lancia and Ferrari, the Brit’s hopped on the bandwagon and produced the Lotus Esprit but there was one other British manufacturer who wanted to show the world that they too can play the game but only better. They were to build a seventies special like no other.

Deep within the factory walls at Newport Pagnell, William Towns put pen to paper and designed an ultra-wedge shape that was just 43-inches high. A panel on the front lowered to reveal five square headlights, while giant gull-wing doors doubled the car's height when opened, the car being so low they were not only cosmetic and functional but vital. The interior, matching the Towns-designed Lagonda Series 2, showed off LED lights, buttons and touchscreens.

On paper it was known as ‘Project K.901’ but internally it was better known as K-9, some say it was named after Dr Who’s famous robotic dog, but Allan Curtis, the Managing Director of Aston flew a Scottish Aviation Bulldog plane in his spare time and when the car was shown to the public on March 27th, 1980 at the Bell Hotel at Aston Clinton, it got the Bulldog name moniker as well.

Mid-mounted was Aston’s own 5.3 litre V8 engine garnished with twin Garrett turbochargers and the latest Bosch fuel injection system which helped push the horsepower figure well above 650. Aston Martin built it with one aim in mind; to break the 200mph barrier.

It’s on record has having recorded 192mph at the MIRA proving ground in 1981, theoretically Aston said it could go as fast as 237mph. It didn’t. Aston had planned to build a limited production run of cars but when Victor Gauntlett become the chairman of the company in 1981, he decided that Aston Martin had bigger problems than bringing a supercar to market, so only one exists.

The Bulldog was sold to a prince in the Middle East then to a collector in America, only to resurface again in the UK in 1997, sporting a new two-tone green paint job with a cream coloured leather interior. The Bosch injection system had been replaced with four Weber carburettors.

Earlier this year the current owner has commissioned British company Classic Motor Cars to fully restore the Bulldog with the aim to finally break the 200mph barrier.