Aston Martin designed the Bulldog, a unique concept car that was intended to go over 200 mph in 1980. But after getting close — 191 mph — the company’s new chairman halted the program.
Phillip Sarofim purchased the car and it was seldom seen again until two years later. He commissioned Classic Motor Cars from Bridgnorth in Shropshire to repair the car with the goal of taking it beyond 200 mph.
Ironically Richard Gauntlett will be involved in the restoration, his father Victor being the Aston Martin Chairman who sat on the brakes back then in 1981.
Classic Motor Cars received the Royal Automobile Club’s Restoration of the Year Trophy. A few days later, the Bulldog drove at speed at 162 mph at Yeovilton Naval Air Station in Somerset.
Woodward speaks out about Gauntlett’s (wearing a cap), and Brett Eggar, the engineer.
“Seeing the car run like this for the first time in forty years is a dream come true,” Richard Gauntlett was quoted in a news release from Classic Motor Cars. “I grew up with the car, I had a poster of it on my bedroom wall.”
Classic Motor Cars managing director Nigel Woodward was at the Bulldog’s wheel for the shakedown run.
“There is still much to do but Saturday’s session not only validated the car but also provided a lot of very useful data,” he said. “The fact that without trying, and in the teeth of a 50 mph crosswind we sailed through the 160 mph mark in only ¾ of a mile, at reduced boost and on partial throttle says much. It was only a lack of bravery on my part and the fact that we were still evaluating the car that prevented us going faster.”
There are plans to run another test at Navy Air Station in 2020 or 2022, before the car reaches the 200-mph mark set over 40 years ago.
Larry Edsall wrote this article. It was first published at ClassicCars.com. Motor Authority is an editorial partner.