When the Bulldog was unveiled in early 1980, it was intended as the first of a limited-edition run of 25, but it turned out to be so far-fetched that it never made it into production. Styled by William Towns, of Lagonda fame, the Bulldog takes the concept of wedge-shaped design onto a whole new plane.
The Bulldog was designed to symbolize Aston Martin’s intentions for the future, technically as well as aesthetically. On its test drive, it reached 191 mph (307 km/h), a remarkable feat at the time. Even more remarkably, it was theoretically capable of 237 mph (381 km/h), its twin-turbo V8 engine delivering around 650 bhp.
The split-rim alloy wheels had blades around the edges which, though they may have looked as if they were intended for fending off bad guys in James Bond-style car chases, in fact fulfilled the function of directing cool air to the brakes in order to ensure reliability even at stratospheric speeds. The Bulldog also included the same innovative LED technology used in the Lagonda, and a rear view delivered via a TV monitor. It remains Aston Martin’s only mid-engine car to date.
At the time, it was rumoured that the Bulldog project had been underwritten by a middle-eastern sheikh who then backed out of buying it. The car ended up in auction and was sold to a wealthy business tycoon from the Emirates. Eventually, it turned up in the USA but now resides back in the UK.
The Bulldog is unlikely ever to be surpassed as Aston Martin’s most bizarre creation. With its stunted height of just 110 cm (43 in), disproportionate width, massive power-operated gullwing doors and strange submerged headlights, it stands in the annals of automotive history as a madcap masterpiece from another dimension.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
5,341 cc Twin-Turbo DOHC V8
Top speed of 191 mph (307 km/h); 0-60mph (97 km/h) in 5.2 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Within the Aston Martin factory, the Bulldog was known by the code name K-9, after Dr Who’s robotic dog.