The Prince, the Bulldog and the Flower Pot

08December 2022

Aston Martin’s Engineering director Mike Loasby sketched a mechanical layout that would be packaged beneath an extraordinary silhouette; The Aston Martin Bulldog.

It only progressed a little. Loasby left to join DeLorean, and Aston’s management was preoccupied with the Lagonda, whose metamorphosis from concept to production car was proving painful and long-winded.

In 1979 with Lagonda production finally underway, thoughts returned to the supercar project, DP K9, named after the robot dog in 1970s Dr Who.

The Bulldog would be a one-off.

Alan Curtis, the Aston Chairman, had a buyer lined up at one stage: the Sultan of Oman, who dropped out after the car had been changed to LHD from RHD.

But by late 1980, Aston Martin was in the financial mire once again; so when the Saudi prince Muhammed Bandar Al Saud agreed to buy the Bulldog for a price that covered virtually all the development costs – believed around £130,000, paying with Traveller’s Cheques, Aston jumped at the opportunity.

The prince took delivery of his Bulldog with total disregard for the law, no number plates, insurance or road fund licence.

Within hours the prince returned the car to Aston with a wholly blown engine and shattered gearbox due to changing from top gear to second at some unearthly speed.

Aston returned the car to the prince, who was supposed to drive back to London with an agent from Lloyds of London. Instead, he beckoned his friend to join him and left the bewildered man from Lloyds at the motorway’s edge.

When in London, the prince and his pal headed for Blushes bar on the King’s Road; the car was so loud that a woman from an apartment above launched a floor pot in disapproval that landed on the Bulldog’s roof.

I would like to know if Lloyds covered the insurance for the damage.