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Aston Martin’s ‘mythical beast’ supercar built in 1980 set to reattempt 200mph record run

A powerful supercar dubbed a ‘mythical beast’ is set to make a second attempt at reaching 200mph, 40 years after it failed a then record-breaking run.

The Aston Martin Bulldog was a one-off concept made in 1980in an effort to show off the capabilities of the company’s new engineering facility in Milton Keynes.

Engineers had hoped the gull-winged motor would be the first car to reach 200mph but it fell nine miles per hour short of the target.

The Aston Martin Bulldog fell short of its 200mph target in 1980 and now a team is working to restore it to its former glory in an attempt to finally achieve the feat more than 40 years on. It is hoped to be ready by later this year   

The Aston Martin Bulldog, known by petrolheads as the 'mythical beast', will make a second attempt at reaching 200mph later this year, 40 years after it only managed 191mph during its initial run

The Aston Martin Bulldog, known by petrolheads as the ‘mythical beast’, will make a second attempt at reaching 200mph later this year, 40 years after it only managed 191mph during its initial run 

The project is being overseen by Richard Gauntlett, son of former Aston Martin boss Victor Gauntlett, who hopes to finish what engineers in 1980 could not and help it reach the 200mph target set 40 years ago

The project is being overseen by Richard Gauntlett, son of former Aston Martin boss Victor Gauntlett, who hopes to finish what engineers in 1980 could not and help it reach the 200mph target set 40 years ago

The Bulldog never made it into production due to spiralling costs and the concept car disappeared before Richard Gauntlett, the son of former Aston Martin boss Victor Gauntlett, tracked it down in 2020.

And now a project run by Richard is hoping to get the car to 200mph.

He said: ‘The car is now well on the way to being restored and it will be running by the end of the year. We will then attempt the record that never was.

‘The Bulldog became something of a mythical beast, lots of people knew about it and wondered where it was after it was sold by Aston Martin to an owner in the Middle East.

Richard Gauntlett cannot stop grinning as work continues at the Shropshire factory to get the Bulldog ready for its 200mph run by the end of the year. The vehicle was sold in 1984 and finally tracked down in 2020 having spent time in the Middle East, the USA and the Far East

Richard Gauntlett cannot stop grinning as work continues at the Shropshire factory to get the Bulldog ready for its 200mph run by the end of the year. The vehicle was sold in 1984 and finally tracked down in 2020 having spent time in the Middle East, the USA and the Far East

Richard Gauntlett, son of former Aston Martin boss Victor who sold the motor, is hoping the car's speedometer will tick over 200mph for the first time, some 40 years since it failed at an impressive but not record-breaking speed of 191mph

Richard Gauntlett, son of former Aston Martin boss Victor who sold the motor, is hoping the car’s speedometer will tick over 200mph for the first time, some 40 years since it failed at an impressive but not record-breaking speed of 191mph 

The supercar is undergoing a full restoration ahead of the second attempt to reach 200mph, expected to be held later in 2021, and this image shows the beautifully designed interior of the supercar which never reached the mass-production stage

The supercar is undergoing a full restoration ahead of the second attempt to reach 200mph, expected to be held later in 2021, and this image shows the beautifully designed interior of the supercar which never reached the mass-production stage

The restoration work was commissioned by Shropshire-based firm Classic Motor Cars (CMC) who intend to bring it back to its full 1980s glory before the car makes its second attempt at reaching 200mph when driven by Aston Martin factory driver Darren Turner

The restoration work was commissioned by Shropshire-based firm Classic Motor Cars (CMC) who intend to bring it back to its full 1980s glory before the car makes its second attempt at reaching 200mph when driven by Aston Martin factory driver Darren Turner

‘It then disappeared from general view but there were a handful of sightings all over the world.’

The vehicle was sold by Richard’s father to a middle eastern buyer in 1984 to help raise cash for the then-struggling company.

It is believed the vehicle has spent the last 30 years in different storage units around the world including spending some time in the United States.

It was finally located in the Far East and bought by an American Bulldog fan before it was transported to Shropshire for restoration.

Aston Martin factory driver Darren Turner has been recruited to make the 200mph attempt, later this year.

Former Aston Martin boss Victor Gauntlett sold the supercar in 1984 when the firm decided it was not financially-viable to mass produce the legendary vehicle and it promptly disappeared before finally being tracked down in 2020

Former Aston Martin boss Victor Gauntlett sold the supercar in 1984 when the firm decided it was not financially-viable to mass produce the legendary vehicle and it promptly disappeared before finally being tracked down in 2020

The supercar's sleek design can be seen in this impressive picture showing the team getting to work on it but it will need a few more panels, windows and an engine before the team decides to finally let it have another go at 200mph

The supercar’s sleek design can be seen in this impressive picture showing the team getting to work on it but it will need a few more panels, windows and an engine before the team decides to finally let it have another go at 200mph 

Engineers have taken the 'mythical beast' down to its bare bones as they work to fully restore it following more than 40 years of being kept in the US, Middle East or the Far East after only reaching 191 mph on the track

Engineers have taken the ‘mythical beast’ down to its bare bones as they work to fully restore it following more than 40 years of being kept in the US, Middle East or the Far East after only reaching 191 mph on the track

An engineer grins as he gets to grips to the Aston Martin car, lost for 40 years before it was rediscovered last year and brought back to Shropshire in the UK, which will need a little more time before ready to make the 200mph attempt

An engineer grins as he gets to grips to the Aston Martin car, lost for 40 years before it was rediscovered last year and brought back to Shropshire in the UK, which will need a little more time before ready to make the 200mph attempt  

He will be boosted by a whopping 5.3 litre, twin turbocharged V8 engine.

Darren said: ‘I had heard of the legend of Bulldog from within Aston Martin and when news started to filter out about the car being restored to go for the 200mph target, I thought that was such a cool thing to do.

‘I was following the story and thinking that it would be great to be involved in. When I was asked to drive it I didn’t need to be asked twice.

‘I really appreciate being asked and I’m looking forward to becoming part of the story of bringing Bulldog back to life and finally achieving what it set out to achieve all those years ago.’

The restoration work was by commissioned Shropshire-based firm Classic Motor Cars (CMC).

Managing director Nigel Woodward: ‘It is great that Darren has agreed to drive the car.

 ‘Having such an accomplished driver on board and one that will become involved in the final set up and testing is fantastic.’

The world’s fastest production car is currently the SSC Tuatara hypercar which was recorded at 316mph.

A member of the restoration team shows the care and dedication being shown to the Bulldog to restore it to its former 1980s glory as she hand stiches the steering wheel they hope will finally drive the car at 200mph after a 40 year wait

A member of the restoration team shows the care and dedication being shown to the Bulldog to restore it to its former 1980s glory as she hand stiches the steering wheel they hope will finally drive the car at 200mph after a 40 year wait 

An engineer from Classic Motor Cars ponders as she gets to grips with the car's cream interior which will be brought back to its 1980s glory by the time the car drives on to a track to have a go at reaching the previous 200mph target set in 1980

An engineer from Classic Motor Cars ponders as she gets to grips with the car’s cream interior which will be brought back to its 1980s glory by the time the car drives on to a track to have a go at reaching the previous 200mph target set in 1980  

A painter on the team is pictured applying the layers to the car's bonnet before it is carefully put back in place at the front of the supercar which never went into production owing to Aston martin not believing it would be financially viable

A painter on the team is pictured applying the layers to the car’s bonnet before it is carefully put back in place at the front of the supercar which never went into production owing to Aston martin not believing it would be financially viable

The light dances on the bonnet of another car in the workshop while the core of the Aston Martin vehicle can be seen behind as engineers work on its outer body before putting it back together ready for driving once more

The light dances on the bonnet of another car in the workshop while the core of the Aston Martin vehicle can be seen behind as engineers work on its outer body before putting it back together ready for driving once more 

The Aston martin, powered by a twin-turbo 5.3litre V8, is believed to have a top speed of 237mph but was only able to previously reach an impressive 191mph when it was driven in 1980 before being sold a few years later

The Aston martin, powered by a twin-turbo 5.3litre V8, is believed to have a top speed of 237mph but was only able to previously reach an impressive 191mph when it was driven in 1980 before being sold a few years later 

Engineers will hope the sleek motor will be able to better its previous best of 191 mph when it again takes to the road, 40 years after its last attempt in 1980 when it failed to reach the record-breaking 200mph speed limit

Engineers will hope the sleek motor will be able to better its previous best of 191 mph when it again takes to the road, 40 years after its last attempt in 1980 when it failed to reach the record-breaking 200mph speed limit 

The full restoration will have the car looking 40 years younger by the time the team from Classic Motor Cars, led by Richard Gauntlett, have finished giving it a full sprucing up ahead of its second attempt at reaching 200mph later this year

The full restoration will have the car looking 40 years younger by the time the team from Classic Motor Cars, led by Richard Gauntlett, have finished giving it a full sprucing up ahead of its second attempt at reaching 200mph later this year

The Aston Martin Bulldog is shown making its ultimately unsuccessful run in the grainy 40-year-old BBC footage but looks sleek as it races to 191mph, sadly falling short of the previous 200mph target

The Aston Martin Bulldog is shown making its ultimately unsuccessful run in the grainy 40-year-old BBC footage but looks sleek as it races to 191mph, sadly falling short of the previous 200mph target   

The 1979 Aston Martin Bulldog supercar 

Design: William Towns

Produced: 1979

Body style: two-door coupe

Doors: gullwing 

Top speed: 237mph

Engine: twin-turbo 5.3-litre V8

Height: 43ins

Length: 15ft 6ins 


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