Aston Martin Bulldog Breaks Land Speed Record

Car enthusiasts who love Aston Martin know the Bulldog as this one-off model that has achieved an almost mythical status. The Bulldog was poised to be the fastest production car in the world, but that title proved elusive. The goal was to reach a world record of 237 mph and have a limited run of just up to 25 units. There was only one Bulldog built back in 1979, which only reached the maximum speed of 192 mph. Now, after 44 years, the Bulldog made its second attempt. 

What happened to the Aston Martin Bulldog?

Aston Martin Bulldog

The Bulldog, which was designed back in 1977, did not reach its goal of 237 mph on its first-ever attempt in 1979. Although it did reach 192 mph, which still made it the fastest car back in the day, it was simply not enough to earn the coveted title. Eventually, Aston Martin just left this project, codenamed Project K.901, and moved on. Since the Bulldog was not able to hit its goal, there was no more motivation to fund the building of more units. 

In the early 1980s, the one and only Bulldog was sold off and essentially forgotten. It’s almost as if it never existed. But in 2020, it was rediscovered in the Middle East, and venture capitalist and car collector Phillip Sarofim wasted no time and expense buying it. After bringing it back to the UK, the car underwent restoration under Classic Motor Cars and Richard Gauntlett. Gauntlett's father, Victor, was the chairman of Aston Martin at the time when Project K.901 had to be terminated. The story of the Bulldog definitely came full circle with this restoration.  

Surprise Appearance of the Bulldog in 2021

After a careful and thorough restoration over the course of 18 months, the Bulldog was unveiled at the Concours d’Elegance at Hampton Court Palace on September 2021, with much-deserved fanfare, even having two apprentices from the Royal Navy unveil it. 

The restored Bulldog was given its original silver and grey colour, along with its brown leather interior and, of course, a restored 5.8-litre V8 engine. The team from Classic Motor Cars even started and revved it up, its gullwing doors wide open for those in attendance to see the interior. They also showcased the Bulldog’s adjustable suspension, and it was simply a delight to see this near-mythical Aston Martin in such an outstanding state.  

The Bulldog’s Successful Attempt in 44 Years

On 6 June 2023, the Bulldog got another chance to display its power. Darren Turner, Aston Martin’s works driver and three-time Le Mans 24-hour class winner, got to steer the Bulldog. With this run, everything went well, and the performance of this one-of-a-kind Aston Martin turned out flawless, making the 200-mph mark easy to reach. Turner expressed how it was such an honour that he got to be the one to pilot the Bulldog as it achieved the 200 mph goal. 

The story of the Bulldog may have started with a disheartening run in 1979, leading the company to abandon the project and the only Bulldog being sold and then resold numerous times, and a very long wait of over four decades to reach this moment, but the success of the Aston Martin Bulldog is well-deserved and a definitely a cause for celebration.