The following article appeared in the 1981 Daily Mail Motor Show Review an annual look at what was availableto the UK car buyer.
Image Credit: Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd
The 190mph plus Bulldog has a bodt styled by William Towns, which is only 43 inches high, a twin turbocharged Aston Martin V8 mounted amidships, five headlights concealed behind a moveable flap and digital instrumentation.
Access to the car is dramatic - through high opening gullwing doors, operated by switches on either side of the body.
Features inside include specially designed seats, LCD digital instumentation, custom made air-conditioning, and a National Panasonic radio/cassette unit.
Projected top speed of Bulldog is in excess of 190mph with acceleration to 60mph in 5.1 seconds and to 100mph in 10.1 seconds.
Although a ultra high performance car, Bulldog is built for road use and not competition use. In addition to the radio/cassette and air-conditioning, there is Wilton carpeting and Connolly leather seating.
Engine: V8 5340cc, Bore 100mm, Stroke 85mm, four overhead camshafts, c/ratio 7.5/1. Twin TO4B Garrett AiResearch turbochargers Bosch injection.
Transmission: ZF five speed two shaft gearbox and transaxle unit type 5DS 25-2 Connected directly to back of the engine. Gear ratios: 1st- 2.58, 2nd-1.52, 3rd- 1.04, 4th- 0.84, 5th-0.70, reverse-2.86, final drive 3.2, Synchromesh on all forward gears.
Chassis: Multi tubular design with backbone integral roll-over bar, diagonally braced. Hand -formed aluminium bodywork.
Wheels & Tyres: Compomotive split rim 15 inch diameter,8.5 inches in front, 11 inch wide at the rear.Pirelli P7 steel-braced radial, front 225/50 VR15, rear 345/35 VR15.
Suspension: Front; Independent double wishbones; Koni aluminium telescopic dampers, adjustable anti-roll bar. Rear; De-Dion axle, Koni aluminium telescopic dampers.
Brakes: Ventilated discs front and rear, with independent hydraulic circuits. Girling tandem master cylinder with integral servo. Front caliper Lockheed type CP2279. Rear Lockheed type CR 2409 Aeroquip brake pipes.
Steering: Direct, rack & pinion. Collapsible column. Anti Ackermann geometry 2.25 turns lock to lock.
Instruments: Backlit LCD digital instrument package showing speed, engine rpm, oil pressure, water temperature, battery voltage and fuel level plus 8 warning lights.
Fuel System: 4 aluminium fuel tanks spaced .at centre of car.Interconnected, filled with Explosafe safety foil mesh. Tank capacity 25 gallons
Dimensions: Length-15ft 6in. Width-6ft 3in. Height-3ft 7in. Wheelbase -9ft 1in. Frot Track-5ft 1.5 inches. Rear Track- 5ft 2in.
Styled by William Towns, the Aston Martin Bulldog was ultimately built as a one-off testbed. Originally, it had been intended to be a limited run of about 25. The code name for the project was DP K9, named after a Doctor Who character. It was built in the UK, but is a left-hand-drive car (UK cars are right-hand-drive). It has an incredibly low height at 43 inches (1.1 meters) high, and featured a sharp, distinctive gull-wing door design. The interior uses digital instrumentation and the rear view is delivered via a television monitor mounted on the center console (a later addition). The Aston Martin Bulldog was powered by a 5.3L twin-turbo V8 delivering 700 bhp (522 kW).
The first test drive of the Aston Martin Bulldog came in late 1979 and was a great success. The Aston Martin Bulldog achieved a verified top speed of 191 mph (307 km/h), but the theoretical top speed is estimated at 237 mph (381 km/h). The car was officially launched on March 27, 1980 at the Bell Hotel at Aston Clinton. After the development program was over, Aston Martin sold the only Bulldog to the highest bidder. The total design and construction cost of the Aston Martin Bulldog was estimated to be about £130,000.
The Aston Martin Bulldog spent some time in the United States, but later surfaced back in Britain, for sale and with a new green paint job (the original exterior colours were silver and light grey). The interior has also been changed from the original dark brown and black to light tan.