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Aston Martin Bulldog exceeds 200 mph 44 years after debut

Mason Bloom

The first and only Aston Martin Bulldog has finally reached the 200 miles per hour milestone it was built to achieve. It took decades.

Classic Motor Cars, a United Kingdom-based vintage car repair shop, recently announced the Bulldog reached a top speed of 205.4 mph at a former NATO base in Scotland. Darren Turner, three-time Le Mans class winner and test driver for Aston Martin, piloted the Bulldog.

“Bulldog’s 200 mph goal has been over 40 years in the making, being part of that legacy is a fantastic feeling,” said Turner whose previous attempts at reaching 200 mph in 2021 fell short.

Aston Martin Bulldog exceeds 200 mph 44 years after debut 1

Classic Motor Cars spent 7,000 hours over 18 months to bring this Bulldog as close as possible to the condition it left the production line. When the automotive repair and preservation shop began its restoration in 2020, the Classic Cars team also revealed their intentions to reach 200 mph.

“It is a truly incredible moment to witness the close of a 45-year chapter in the history of the incredible Aston Martin Bulldog,” said Richard Gauntlett, son of Aston’s former owner Victor Gauntlett, who is superintending the restoration.

Aston Martin unveiled the Bulldog in 1979 in an attempt to obtain a share in the supercar market competing with Ferrari, Lamborghini and other carmakers. Engineers at Aston announced the Bulldog and its 600 horsepower 5.3-liter twin-turbo V8 could reach a top speed of 237 mph, well beyond the fastest production car of the time. Bulldog test drivers came close but never achieved their prediction, reaching only 191 mph. 

Aston Martin Bulldog exceeds 200 mph 44 years after debut 2
Aston Martin Bulldog puts up respective top speeds but has reached its claimed 237 mph top speed.

Initially, 15-25 Bulldog examples were forecasted to leave Aston Martin. But as has previously occurred, the automaker ran out of money and the project was abandoned. The Bulldog became a one-off prototype sold to a Saudi Prince shortly after production was scrapped. Ownership then bounced among several individuals.

In more recent times ownership was transferred to Phillip Sarofam, who enlisted Gauntlett and Classic Motor Cars to begin restoring the Aston Martin.

“Today is about making dreams come true,” said Sarofam, “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.”

Exceeding 200 mph adds to the Bulldog’s achievements, alongside being the newest vehicle to win the Coppa d’Oro award at the Concorso D’Eleganza at Ville D’ Este in Italy.

Mason Bloom is a reporter for TheWeeklyDriver.com. When he is not writing about industry news, new car reviews or covering live motorsport events, he’s a sophomore at Aptos High School on the California central coa

Article Last Updated: June 8, 2023.

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