Remember that Aston Martin Bulldog restoration we rambled on about back in February? Well, it’s finally been unveiled at this year’s Concours of Elegance, Hampton Court Palace, and as you’d expect caused quite a stir…
Designed by William Towns and powered by a thirsty 5.3 litre V8 and twin-turbo power plant, the gull-winged Bulldog could reach 0-100mph in around 10.1 seconds and had a reported top speed close to 200mph, making it the fastest production car of its time. Aston Martin created the road-going supercar to prove that it was not only a small company of renowned motoring artisans but that its engineering prowess was also world-class.
Nearly 40 years later Shropshire based Classic Motor Cars has successfully carried out the 18-month nut and bolt restoration which two Royal Naval apprentices unveiled at the Concours of Elegance event.
The nut and bolt restoration which saw technicians at Classic Motor Cars in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, spend more than 6,000 hours working on the car, which caught the headlines of the world’s media in 1980 and then disappeared after further testing of the ‘dart-like’ Aston was suspended following the appointment of AML chairman Victor Gauntlett in 1981.
Son of Victor Gauntlett and project leader, Richard Gauntlett:
“It became something of a mythical beast and disappeared from view when it was purchased from Aston Martin by a Middle Eastern buyer. Over the years Bulldog was ‘sighted’ in various locations around the world before turning up in the United States where it was bought by Phillip Sarofim, who has flown to the UK for the unveiling of the car.”
Today, Air Engineering Apprentices, Lewis Delaney, 27 years old, from Llanddulas, in North Wales, and Andrew Earl, 23 years old, from Kings Lynn who both work at the Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton, unveiled the car after the world-famous Corps of Drums from the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, Portsmouth (The Royal Band), carried out a ‘Mess Beatings’ to announce its presence.
David Barzilay, who looks after PR and Marketing for CMC said:
“It seemed fitting to involve the Royal Navy. CMC is an employee-owned Trust which over the years has run an Apprentice Programme, as have the Royal Navy. Our engagement with the Senior Service will see apprentices from Yeovilton, where testing of the car takes place being involved. CMC apprentices will be involved when Bulldog visits a Royal Naval warship. It will mean that old technology will meet the Royal Navy’s latest technology. Two UK icons coming together in a unique picture shoot to be announced shortly.”
CMC says they have tried to remain as faithful as possible to the original design and concept by not only returning the car to its paint and trim scheme but also engineering the car in such a way that major mechanical components are now located as the designers originally intended.
Futureproofing the car has been achieved by incorporating state-of-the-art engine management systems and modern components such as liquid-cooled turbochargers which will ensure that Bulldog is preserved for many years to come. Tests will now be carried out by Aston Martin racing driver Darren Turner to make sure that it reaches the golden 200mph target.
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