Denmark is not a country that normally brings sports car manufacture to mind, but Jesper Hermann, Christian Brandt and Torben Hartvig could soon change all that. Their company, HBH, is planning a series of one-off supercars. The design of the first project: a mid-engined version of the Aston Martin V12 Vantage has now been finalized and has been christened ‘Bulldog GT’.
This is not HBH’s first supercar project: the team developing the Bulldog GT prototype is the same team which designed the Zenvo ST 1 for Zenvo Automotive. But according to team member Christian Brandt, designing the Bulldog GT has been “a long, intense process”.
The aim was to design a supercar that will appeal not only to Aston Martin owners, but also to supercar enthusiasts around the world. Brandt explains some of the challenges: “In other design projects where we started with a blank sheet of paper, the process was easier and faster, as there were so few limitations. However, in the case of this Aston-based supercar we had to respect everything from the brand and design heritage of Aston Martin, through to the demands of a 2012 supercar client. It has been a challenging process; but we know it was time well spent, getting every detail right.”
HBH’s Torben Hartvig takes up the story. “Since the first announcement was made, we have received only positive feedback – both from potential clients and from individuals who are interested in participating financially in the prototype development. We’ve spent a lot of time and money creating what we believe to be a fantastic supercar, and we are therefore willing to wait for the right partner to participate in the next phase.”
The project began as a one-off, where the client would receive 50% of the design and production rights, together with the one unique car. The potential of expanding from a one-off prototype to small-series production was included as an option from the start, however, and is a challenge that HBH is ready to take on.
Torben Hartvig continues, “From the very beginning, we listened carefully to the market before deciding on the future of the Bulldog GT. As we see it, all possibilities are open: if a client only wants to make one car, only one will be produced. If there is a market for a small series, which we strongly believe there is, and the client would like us to produce a small series, then this is what we will do. We believe this project is an opportunity to be a part of automotive history and, at the same time, make a potentially good investment.” The prototype development is estimated to 12 months, with the first test drives provisionally scheduled for early 2013.
During the design phase, the HBH engineering team has also been working on its plans to modify the chassis. As the vehicle is based on an existing car, the challenge here was to re-engineer the existing chassis to give the necessary supercar dynamics. Safety and crash aspects also had to live up to supercar standards.
As Jesper Hermann of HBH explains, “During the design process, aerodynamics have played a crucial role. The final design will undergo virtual and real aerodynamic testing to obtain the perfect balance between styling and aerodynamic capabilities.”
As the car is created in the spirit of an Aston Martin, extremely high standards of craftsmanship have been a vital consideration. “We could have made the entire body for the car in carbon,” continues Christian Brandt. “In fact, in many ways it would have been easier and the weight of the body could have been slightly lower. But it just didn’t feel right, given the heritage of Aston Martin. Instead, we chose to manufacture the body panels in hand-beaten aluminium – following Aston tradition.”