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The Falen: Scotland’s P1 GTR rival that almost made it

Dowdeswell & Hardie’s 2008 concept had an 800bhp V10, but it was never to be

  • What on earth is that?

    Back in the middle of 2008, rumours started to appear that we were about to witness the birth of a Scottish supercar, courtesy of design agency Dowdeswell & Hardie. The Scottish had given us penicillin, television, the telephone, Watt’s steam engine, the pedal bicycle, and the overhead valve engine – a supercar would surely be a walk in the park for such a talented nation? The media was aquiver with anticipation. OK that’s a lie – what this member of the media did was groan, roll his eyes and shake his head at the clearly computer- generated images.

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  • You have to admit it looks quite special.

    It wasn’t a bad-looking thing, nor was it badly conceived. The spec sheet read plausibly enough. Named after a Scottish spirit, the Falen was to be a British track-day hypercar in the mould of the McLaren P1 GTR or Aston Martin Vulcan, before those cars were even a twinkle in their daddies’ eyes. So, ahead of the curve.

  • Sounds promising. Talk to me about power.

    It featured a 5.5-litre V10 Judd GV5 racing engine popular with top-line LMP1 teams, a compact, lightweight unit that developed 800bhp and 465lb ft of torque. Sat in a carbon-fibre chassis, surrounded by carbon-fibre panels, with an active rear wing and a promised all-up weight of bang-on a tonne, it sounded like something worth chasing. A prototype (codenamed Concept 17.1) was promised in early 2009, ahead of the grand unveiling at Geneva that year and then production of a mere four super-exclusive units.

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  • So… what happened next?

    There was a phone number at the bottom of the press release, so I gave it a bell. The phone rang and rang and was eventually answered by a hesitant middle-aged lady with a tentative “Hello?”. Clearly not a receptionist at a design agency. Anyway, I forged ahead, asking if I had the right number for Dowdeswell & Hardie. I did. And could I speak to someone about the Falen project? I could. The next thing she said told me the project was unlikely to have legs: “Hang on a wee minute, he’s up in his bedroom at the moment..."

  • Ah. OK. Give me some numbers.

    Years active: 2008
    Number produced: Zero
    Cost new: N/A
    USP: Used a Judd V10 LMP1 engine, weighed a tonne
    Power claims: 800bhp @ 10000rpm 465lb ft @ 7500rpm
    Performance claims: 0–62mph in 3.0secs, 200+mph max

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