The Aston Martin Bulldog was meant to showcase Aston Martin’s prowess and the abilities of its new – and current – facility. The project, codenamed Project K.901, would see a limited run of 15 to 25 units, with production starting the moment the first unit would set a world record of 237 mph (381.4 kph), becoming the fastest production car in the world.
That was in 1979 and nothing went according to plan. The one Bulldog built only hit a maximum speed of 192 mph (309 kph), which still made it the fastest car of the day, but not enough to secure the coveted title. Aston Martin eventually decided to ditch the project altogether: the initial goal had not been reached and the funds to build more cars were no longer there.
The Bulldog was sold off two years later and then, for decades, slipped off the map, attaining a sort of mythical aura. It was rediscovered in 2020, when Phillip Sarofim bought it from the Middle East and brought it back to the UK, where Classic Motor Cars (CMC) and Richard Gauntlett, son of Victor Gauntlett, the Aston Martin boss who estranged the car in 1981, promised a nuts-and-bolts restoration ahead of another speed run.
The fully-restored Bulldog made a surprise appearance at the Concours d’Elegance at Hampton Court Palace on September 3, 2021, where two apprentices from the Royal Navy unveiled it to grand fanfare. You can see that moment in the first video at the bottom of the page. The Bulldog is now back to its original silver and light gray color, with a brown leather interior, and an overhauled 5.8-liter V8 engine in the back.
It seems to have some issues with the headlights – not the five rounded headlights hidden in the front, the other ones – but it’s fully functional otherwise. Someone from the CMC team started it up and revved it, showcased the adjustable suspension, the automated gullwing doors, and offered a look at the interior. Why, it even has a horn.
The Bulldog is now officially ready to write history. It won’t be in the record books anymore, but the plan is to get it to hit a top speed closer to the one Aston Martin initially promised with it: 200 mph (322 kph), with tests scheduled to start in the following days at the Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton, Somerset, UK.