Decades of silence resurrected the legendary Aston Martin

Obviously, neither the design nor the speed of the model resembles a small and clumsy bulldog. Alan Curtis, then head of Aston Martin, served in Scottish aviation, where he flew a Bulldog. That’s what inspired him to call one of Aston Martin’s most exciting models just that. Interestingly, at the factory it was codenamed K9, which was an allusion to a robot dog from the cult British television series Doctor Who.

Radical lines

If the name of the Aston Martin Bulldog alone deserves an entire paragraph today, the technology and design it used in 1978 would have inspired a science fiction book. His strict and sharp forms were drawn by William Towns, who later turned them into one of the most luxurious Lagonda models. The front of the Aston Martin Bulldog resembled a wedge, making it difficult to find space for headlights here. They appeared in a completely unconventional place – under a special cover on the front of the car.

Don’t expect to get into a car with such a strange look in the standard way. Due to lower air resistance, the Aston Martin Bulldog was only about a meter high. That was one of the reasons why Aston Martin’s engineers opted for a wide-opening door. Inside, it boasted an extremely spacious and luxurious cabin with a walnut finish. Strict and futuristic lines also dominated here.

The biggest innovation of the time was several LCD digital screens and a rear-view camera with a screen in the cabin. Today, such a sentence may make you smile, but in the 1970s, a rare car had disc brakes, power steering, and the ABS system was still paving the way for mass production.

No speed has been seen so far

Yes, the Aston Martin Bulldog, like all the manufacturer’s cars, was reminiscent of a work of art, but its purpose in the world was quite different. It was to become the first production car to reach 322 km / h. speed. Behind him, the extravagant look hid the latest advances in automotive engineering to achieve this goal. First of all, the Aston Martin Bulldog did not have a normal body. The car was made of a tubular construction that allows for significant weight savings and no loss of rigidity. Today, such a solution is used only in the most advanced ring car sports cars.

Clearly, low air resistance and lightweight construction would not have been enough to achieve a speed record. As a result, the Aston Martin Bulldog was fitted with the manufacturer’s most powerful engine at the time, a 5.3-liter V8 with two massive turbines. It officially generated 600 hp, but Aston Martin said it had squeezed in 700 hp during the test, which theoretically allowed the car to reach 381 km / h. speed.

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Decades of silence

As with most ambitious projects, the development of the Aston Martin Bulldog has started to cost more than planned. It is important to understand that at the same time, the manufacturer was developing a Lagonda model that was better suited to a wider range of customers and, of course, had to be more profitable. As early as 1979, during the first tests, the Aston Martin Bulldog reached 307 km / h. speed and this project was stopped very soon. Meanwhile, Victor Gauntlett, then head of Aston Martin, sold the prototype.

A few years later, an absolutely unique and working prototype was acquired by a collector from the Middle East. Despite its uniqueness, the Aston Martin Bulldog has been repainted from silver to green and the original brown interior has been replaced by a bright one. Several decades have passed and in 2020 this model was purchased at one auction by a collector from the USA. Fortunately, he knew Richard Gauntlett’s son, Richard, and suggested that the Aston Martin Bulldog be restored to its original appearance.

A different restoration

It was decided very quickly that this should not be just a cosmetic restoration. Gauntlett decided to take this unique opportunity to give the Aston Martin Bulldog a second chance to reach 322 km / h. speed. The model was fitted with new but identical turbines and a hydraulic suspension that could lower the car below due to aerodynamics. The original interior and body colors were undoubtedly restored.

Po kelių dešimtmečių tylos prikėlė legendinį „Aston Martin“ modelį

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The pandemic halted the restoration process of the Aston Martin Bulldog, but the first speed test was held in November last year. True, it was not intended to achieve a record, but to “shake” the car well in order to find the weakest points and correct small mistakes.

First try

The Aston Martin Bulldog reached 260 km / h at the Royal Navy Airport. speed. Yes, that’s far less than the original goal, but the car has been in stock for decades. Also, the engineers significantly reduced the power for this test, and strong side gusts were blowing that day.

It was the last attempt against a speed record. Aston Martin plans to plant legendary long-distance racer Darenn Turner at the wheel of the Aston Martin Bulldog later this year to try to reach 322 km / h. speed. Even if this goal is not achieved, one thing remains clear. Even after 43 years, the Aston Martin Bulldog remains one of the most impressive cars in the world.

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