Aston Martin Bulldog hits 200mph

| 6 Jun 2023
Classic & Sports Car – Aston Martin Bulldog hits 200mph

More than four decades after its first attempt, the Aston Martin Bulldog has today (6 June) smashed its 200mph target.

It was driven by triple Le Mans class-winner – and Aston Martin works driver – Darren Turner at Machrihanish airfield, a former NATO base in Campbeltown, Scotland, and recorded 205.4mph.

Aston Martin designed the Bulldog in 1977 to be the world’s fastest production car, with the aim of achieving 200mph.

However, when it was put through its paces at MIRA in late 1979, it fell just shy of the mark, with its top speed of 191mph.

Classic & Sports Car – Aston Martin Bulldog hits 200mph

More than 40 years since getting to 191mph, the Aston Martin Bulldog has broken the 200mph barrier

Between 15-20 Bulldogs were meant to be built, but the project was deemed too expensive and was canned after just one, this car, was finished.

When Aston Martin wanted to move it on, it was sold to its first keeper, a Saudi prince who paid £130,000 for the Bulldog, and the first time he drove it the engine blew up.

A number of owners later, in 2020, the car’s then-new custodian, American businessman Phillip Sarofim, wanted the car restored and approached Richard Gauntlett, son of the former Aston Martin owner Victor Gauntlett, to manage this process.

Richard selected Classic Motor Cars in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, to undertake this work which took 18 months, with 7000 hours of restoration plus hundreds more testing and tweaking the wedge-shaped, gullwing-doored car.

This included reaching 176mph in tests at the Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton in 2021.

Classic & Sports Car – Aston Martin Bulldog hits 200mph

Aston Martin works driver Darren Turner was entrusted with the restored Bulldog

“Bulldog’s 200mph goal has been over 40 years in the making, being part of that legacy is a fantastic feeling,” commented driver Darren.

And after his not-insignificant investment, owner Phillip was thrilled: “Today is about making dreams come true, the dreams of the original designers and engineers who created Bulldog. Those automotive pioneers were breaking barriers, not just speed barriers but frontiers of design, innovation and engineering.”

“It is a truly incredible moment to witness the close of a 45-year chapter in the history of the incredible Aston Martin Bulldog,” Richard added.

“The team who built it and the team who re-built are deservedly celebrating their momentous achievements and it is heartwarming to see all their hard work rewarded.”

Images: Amy Shore