It's taken 44 years and a gargantuan effort to reach the lofty goal the angular concept aimed for in 1979.
The Aston Martin Bulldog has finally set the speed record it aimed to achieve in 1979, topping 200 mph after more than 40 years.
Nowadays, the fastest cars in the world can reach nearly 300 mph, but back in 1979, Aston Martin wanted to become a record holder by hitting 200 mph with a car called the Bulldog. Originally intended for a production run of 15-25 vehicles, the project was canned, and the Bulldog lived on only as a one-off concept car. Unfortunately, the Bulldog's bad luck didn't end there, as it never actually hit its 200-mph target, only reaching 191 mph.
But after an exhaustive restoration process, Classic Motor Cars finally managed to hit the double-ton at the Machrihanish airfield in Scotland earlier today.
Driven by three-time Le Mans class winner and Aston Martin works driver Darren Turner, the Bulldog reached 205.4 mph at the old NATO base, besting Turner's previous efforts behind the wheel of 176 mph in early testing. That speed is no mean feat, as it places it in the same realm as contemporary supercars like the Aston Martin Valkyrie.
"Bulldog's 200mph goal has been over 40 years in the making; being part of that legacy is a fantastic feeling," said Turner after completing the final run today. "The Bulldog has now fulfilled Aston Martin's 1980s 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."
According to Turner, the conditions today were perfect, as was the car, "easily hitting the 200 mph mark."
The one-off concept was originally sold to a Saudi prince, with whom its engine blew up on its very first drive.
Fortunately, that wasn't the case today, and the 5.3-liter twin-turbo V8's 600 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque were able to be fully deployed.
That reliability is largely thanks to Classic Motor Cars Ltd in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, who restored the car at the behest of Richard Gauntlett (the son of former AM owner Richard Gauntlett, who canned the Bulldog project) and current owner Philip Sarofim. The restoration took 18 months with over 7,000 man-hours invested. Beyond that, several hundred hours more were carried out on testing and adjustment to ensure it would withstand the rigors of gunning for 200 mph.
"Thanks to the CMC team's hard work, the Aston Martin Bulldog has done it!" proclaimed Tim Griffin, managing director of Classic Motor Cars.
The car's owner was equally proud, stating, "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."