Sussex car lover's trip to see iconic Aston Martin restored to its former glory
What could be more British than an iconic Aston Martin car, especially with the new Bond film doing the rounds?
Add the model name Bulldog and you are then thinking about the rarest and arguably the most beautiful Aston Martin ever built.
Last week I was able to take up a long-standing invitation to visit the much-fabled Aston Martin Bulldog at the restoration company, CMC Bridgnorth, where it has been subjected to a “nut-and-bolt” overhaul during the last 18 months. The result is stunning, better than when it was first built! Many ad-hoc modifications have been removed and the body colour has reverted from green to the original two-tone silver/ grey.
Bulldog has received a lot of publicity recently but for those who missed it the car is a one-off prototype built by Aston Martin in the 80s with the hope of winning much needed Middle Eastern and American business. Penned by designer William Towns it was intended to be the fastest production road car ever with a top speed in excess of 200MPH. With power coming from Aston’s own 5.3 litre V8 twin turbo petrol engine propelling Towns’ wind cheating body shape hopes were understandably high. During development it did reach 192 MPH, just short of the target speed, but against a backdrop of mounting financial pressures at Aston Martin and world recession on the horizon the project was dropped. Bulldog was sold on and the car changed hands a few times to eventually end up languishing in the Middle East and latterly America. Fast forward to 2020 when it was acquired by a serious collector who had it shipped to the UK and initiated the car’s restoration back to its former glory. The original V8 engine has been retained but is now updated to current emissions and fuel regulations giving a power output of around 770BHP.
On my visit the car was being prepared for dynamometer trials to finely tune the engine for maximum power. Speed trials will then take place at an airbase runway before the year end and we will then know whether Bulldog’s initial aim of 200MPH+ can be achieved. Watch out for low flying Bulldogs!
Written by Mike Reed from Brighton, Vice Chairman of the Institute of the Motor Industry, Sussex Centre. and formerly with the Peugeot Service Centre in Burgess Hill