The Aston Martin Bulldog, which earlier this year reached a speed record of 205.4 mph, is on show at the British Motor Museum. Only one Aston Martin Bulldog was ever built. For a glimpse at this speedy supercar, drop by the museum before November 13, when the Bulldog returns to its pen at Classic Motor Cars Ltd.
Aston Martin’s Bulldog
The Bulldog was designed by Aston Martin in 1977 to be the fastest production car on the road. However, in late 1979, the Bulldog recorded a top speed of 191mph at MIRA (Motor Industry Research Association) test track, just short of the hoped-for 200mph.
Now the Bulldog has been driven to victory by three-times Le Mans 24-hour class winner Darren Turner, who previously got the Bulldog to 176 mph in tests at the Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton in 2021. The Bulldog’s top speed was 205.4mph.
“Bulldog’s 200mph goal has been over 40 years in the making, being part of that legacy is a fantastic feeling”, said Turner in a press release. “The Bulldog has now fulfilled Aston Martin’s 1980’s promise and everyone who has worked on the car, from those who first designed and built it, to Classic Motor Cars who undertook the restoration under the management of Richard Gauntlett, can feel very proud.”
He added, “The conditions were perfect for the run and the car performed perfectly too, easily hitting the 200mph mark”.
At the British Motor Museum
The Aston Martin Bulldog arrived at the museum escorted by a Hollywood film crew, hot on the heels of it being filmed at Classic Motor Cars Ltd (CMC) in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, for a major documentary about the history of the car, its restoration by CMC, and how it succeeded in its goal of passing 200mph. At CMC, the film crew interviewed Richard Gauntlett, the son of the former Chairman of Aston Martin, Victor Gauntlett. Richard Gauntlett managed the restoration of the Bulldog and the ultimate speed run for the owner of the car, Phillip Sarofim.
“The Museum’s collections include the most innovative products from Britain’s motor industry, over its long history. The Aston Martin Bulldog is one of those cars and sits perfectly in the surroundings in the Museum, a supercar of its time”, said Stephen Laing, head of collections and engagement at the British Motor Museum. “On a personal note, I remember as a small child visiting the Birmingham Motor Show being enthralled by William Towns’ remarkable Lagonda. Bulldog captures even more so his design spirit. I’m delighted to see it at the Museum”.
Aston Martin Lagonda’s Historian, Steve Waddingham, who visited the museum when the car was installed last Friday, said, “Many British design concept cars which didn’t make it are on display at the British Motor Museum. The Aston Martin Bulldog is a concept car that did make it. It was designed to do a job, and it did it 40 years later when it exceeded 200 mph earlier this year”.
Also currently on show at the museum is a 1969 Hillman GT from the Bangers & Cash: Restoring Classics TV show. It’s believed to be the only Hillman GT in existence.
Life of the Bulldog and Restoration
Originally, the Aston Martin Bulldog was to be one of 15-20, but the project was deemed too costly by Aston Martin and the car was sold off to its first owner, a Saudi Prince, for £130,000. On his first drive, the engine blew up. That’s ruff (pun intended).
The Bulldog passed from owner to owner, occasionally appearing in car shows around the world and on top ten most influential prototype cars’ lists until new owner Philip Sarofim asked Richard Gauntlett, the son of the former owner of Aston Martin Victor Gauntlett, to manage the restoration. Gauntlett says he chose CMC for its reputation and experience working on some of the most historic cars in the world.
According to CMC, the restoration project took more than 18-months and 7,000 man hours.
To find out more about the British Motor Museum please visit www.britishmotormuseum.co.uk
Classic Motor Cars is an award-winning classic car specialist responsible for the restoration, preservation and conservation of some of the world’s most important road and race cars.
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