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.


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 630Nm 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.


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 630Nm @ 7500rpm
Performance claims: 0–100kph in 3.0secs, 322kph+ max

Author: TopGear
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