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Return of the Bulldog: Aston Martin’s one-off 1970s supercar is restored to its former glory

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Aston Martin’s one-off 1970s Bulldog supercar has been unveiled in London after restoration.

The powerful vehicle, dubbed a ‘mythical beast’, was put on public display on Friday outside the Hampton Court palace in Richmond, west London.

The Bulldog was a one-off concept created in 1979 in an effort to show off the capabilities of the company’s then-new engineering facility in Milton Keynes.

However, it was sold in 1981 when the company needed money. But after being resurfaced and restored, it will make a second attempt at 200 km/h, 40 years after failing to reach 9 km/h at what would have been a record speed at the time.

Aston Martin’s one-off 1970s Bulldog supercar has been unveiled in London after restoration. The powerful vehicle, dubbed a ‘mythical beast’, was shown to spectators outside the Hampton Court palace in Richmond, west London, on Friday.

The Bulldog was a one-off concept created in 1979 in an effort to show off the capabilities of the company's then-new engineering facility in Milton Keynes.

The Bulldog was a one-off concept created in 1979 in an effort to show off the capabilities of the company’s then-new engineering facility in Milton Keynes.

The 1979 Aston Martin Bulldog Supercar

Design: William Towns

Produced: 1979

Body shape: two-door coupé

Doors: gullwing

Top speed: 237mph

Engine: twin-turbo 5.3-litre V8

Height: 43 inches

Length: 15ft 6ins

The car has been restored by Classic Motor Cars (CMC). The company said the project took 18 months to complete due to the staff’s desire to keep the refurbished car as true to its original design as possible while making it as future-proof as possible.

Project leader Richard Gauntlett, whose father was in charge of Aston Martin when the car was sold, said earlier this year: “The Bulldog became something of a mythical beast, a lot of people knew about it and wondered where it was after it was sold by Aston Martin to an owner in the Middle East.

“Then it disappeared from public view, but there were a handful of sightings around the world.”

Mr Gauntlett added: “Over the years Bulldog was ‘seen’ in various locations around the world before showing up in the United States where he was bought by Phillip Sarofim.”

Sarofim, the billionaire ex-boyfriend of pop star Avril Lavigne, came to London to see the refurbished car and said it looked ‘really amazing’.

The CMC team now reportedly plans to get the car ready for another 200mph attempt.

The Bulldog will be tested at Royal Naval Air Station in Yeovilton, Somerset. Students from the base unveiled the car on Friday.

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

It is assisted by a whopping 5.3 liter V8 engine with twin turbochargers.

The car was sold in 1981 when the company needed money.  But after it resurfaces and is restored, it will make a second attempt at 200 km/h, 40 years after falling 9 km/h to what would have been a record speed at the time.

The car was sold in 1981 when the company needed money. But after it resurfaces and is restored, it will make a second attempt at 200 km/h, 40 years after falling 9 km/h to what would have been a record speed at the time.

Current owner Phillip Sarofim, the billionaire ex-boyfriend of pop star Avril Lavigne, came to London to view the refurbished car and said it looked 'really amazing'.

Current owner Phillip Sarofim, the billionaire ex-boyfriend of pop star Avril Lavigne, came to London to view the refurbished car and said it looked ‘really amazing’.

The car has been restored by Classic Motor Cars (CMC).  The company said the project took 18 months to complete due to the staff's desire to keep the refurbished car as true to its original design as possible while making it as future-proof as possible.

The car has been restored by Classic Motor Cars (CMC). The company said the project took 18 months to complete due to the staff’s desire to keep the refurbished car as true to its original design as possible while making it as future-proof as possible.

The supercar has undergone a full restoration prior to its second attempt to reach 200 mph, which is expected to be held later in 2021, and this image shows the superbly designed interior of the supercar which never reached the mass production stage.

The supercar has undergone a full restoration prior to its second attempt to reach 200 mph, which is expected to be held later in 2021, and this image shows the superbly designed interior of the supercar which never reached the mass production stage.

Project leader Richard Gauntlett, whose father was in charge of Aston Martin when the car was sold, said earlier this year:

Project leader Richard Gauntlett, whose father was in charge of Aston Martin when the car was sold, said earlier this year: “The Bulldog became something of a mythical beast, a lot of people knew about it and wondered where it was after it was sold by Aston Martin to an owner in the Middle East’. Above: his personalized ‘Bulldog’ license plate

Mr Turner said: ‘I had heard of the Bulldog legend from Aston Martin and when the news started filtering out that the car was being restored to hit the 200mph target I thought that was such a cool thing to do .

“I followed the story and thought it would be great to be involved. When I was asked to ride in it, I didn’t have to be asked twice.

“I really appreciate being asked and I look forward to being part of the story to bring Bulldog back to life and finally achieve what it set out to achieve all those years ago.”

The car owner, American businessman and entrepreneur Phillip Sarofim, originally from Texas, poses for photos with his Aston Martin Bulldog

The car owner, American businessman and entrepreneur Phillip Sarofim, originally from Texas, poses for photos with his Aston Martin Bulldog

CMC director Nigel Woodward said: “It’s great that Darren has agreed to drive the car.

“It’s fantastic to have such an experienced driver on board who is involved in the final setup and testing.”

The world’s fastest production car is currently the SSC Tuatara hypercar which was registered at a speed of 316 mph.

The car was mobbed by onlookers and photographers today after being unveiled in west London.  Above: pictures were taken of the engine

The car was mobbed by onlookers and photographers today after being unveiled in west London. Above: pictures were taken of the engine

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