Aston Martin's long-forgotten '70s Bulldog concept car is halfway through its restoration. Ultimately the plan is to have the awkward-looking machine driven to its intended top speed of 200 miles an hour, a feat it never achieved in period.
The restoration of this British icon by Classic Motor Cars in Bridgnorth, Shropshire is being followed by thousands of people worldwide on social media, in motoring magazines and newspapers.
In fact, there appears to be more interest in the Bulldog now than back when it first made its debut! After the launch of the William Towns-styled car late in 1979, and its abortive run to reach 200mph to claim the production car speed record, it disappeared into obscurity.
Project Manager Richard Gauntlett said: "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. It then disappeared from general view.”
He added: “There were sightings all over the world. In the late 80s it was spotted in a lock-up in Arizona. Then it was back in the Middle East in the 90s but it was RM Sotheby’s who eventually tracked it down in Asia."
Richard continues: “With top restoration company, CMC being chosen to carry out the 18 months-plus restoration and get the car ready for its 200-mph run, the Bulldog was coming home. The car had come full circle not only geographically but in terms of its history.
“While the physical restoration has been going on at CMC, a huge amount of work continues to be done forensically piecing together the full history of where the car has been.”
RM Sotheby’s car specialist Alexander Weaver said: “Our team of Car Specialists is always on the hunt for unique, elusive or obscure cars on behalf of our clients and the Aston Martin Bulldog fits that bill perfectly.
“We found this one-of-a-kind concept within an exceptional collection where it had quietly resided for decades. As one would expect we were keen to facilitate its sale knowing the interest in it would be strong.”
He added: “After extensive discussions and negotiations, the owner agreed to part with the long-hidden Bulldog and we were able to facilitate a sale to our client and friend Phillip Sarofim, through our Private Sales division. We are certainly excited to see the car undergo the restoration to its former glory and I’m personally eager to see the Bulldog crack 200mph, as it was intended and came so close."
Nigel Woodward, Managing Director at CMC said: “Bulldog has been with us for nearly a year and in that time, we have carefully dismantled the car, meticulously recording every detail of its construction. We have peeled back some of the later additions and modifications that had been carried out to the car after it left Aston Martin, and the process is now well underway to return the car to its former glory."