Practical Classics (UK)
200mph now in sight
Bulldog rides the wind to 176mph
Aston Martin’s one-off Bulldog has blasted its way to 176mph in difficult weather, spurring hopes that in 2023 it will attain the fabled 200+mph speeds that it never quite managed in period. The 1979 concept car, designed by William Towns and powered by a 5.3-litre twin-turbo Aston Martin V8, aimed to become the fastest production car in the world until cost constraints forced management to pull the plug after only 191mph had been reached. Now it’s received a concours-winning, 7000-hour restoration by Shropshirebased Classic Motor Cars who hope to achieve what Aston Martin could not. The Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton has been providing access for high-speed testing, with three-times Le Mans 24-hour class winner Darren Turner at the wheel, accompanied by project leader Keith Martin.
The restoration is led by Richard Gauntlett, whose father Victor had to make the decision to can the Bulldog during his tenure as Chairman of Aston Martin. Richard said: ‘I cannot believe that we are approaching the magical 200mph, which I am certain we are going to exceed. My father would have been proud of the achievements of British engineers and designers.’
Philip Sarofim, who owns the car, said: ‘I cannot thank the team at CMC enough for the work that they have done and the Royal Navy who have allowed us to visit the airfield and run in between their operations, when they are extremely busy.
‘I also want to thank the Navy Wings charity who conserve and operate historic Royal Navy Aircraft including a Bulldog aircraft that took me on a flight over my own Bulldog. They then flew their iconic Seafire, which produced an image which will become iconic for both pieces of machinery.’
Further preparations this winter will hopefully see the Bulldog finally crack 200mph in the spring.