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Hey Bulldog: 40-Year-Old Aston Martin Concept Shoots for 200 MPH

The wedge-shaped Aston Martin Bulldog sports a mid-mounted twin-turbo V-8 engine.

Greg FinkWriterEd BagnallPhotographer

A 40-year-old Aston Martin concept car will attempt to reach more than 200 mph after it emerges from an 18-month restoration. The 1980 Aston Martin Bulldog is a one-off supercar that previewed a potential Lamborghini Countach competitor by the British brand. Despite Aston initially planning to produce the Bulldog, the automaker ultimately pulled the plug on the model.

That doesn't make the lone Bulldog that Aston Martin built any less impressive, though. With a target top speed of more than 200 mph, the wedge-shaped Bulldog featured a mid-mounted 5.3-liter V-8 engine fitted with a pair of Garrett turbos and Bosch fuel injection—epic stuff for the era. The Aston's resulting 650 horsepower was fed through a five-speed manual gearbox, and powered the Bulldog to push past 190 mph at the United Kingdom's Motor Industry Research Association test track. Fast, but not quite the contemporarily promised 200 mph.

The Bulldog's latest owner, however, wants to give the car a chance at redemption. Of course, getting the nearly 16-foot-long Bulldog ready to top 200 mph won't be easy. "At the moment we are assuming that nothing on the car works and I am sure that as we take it apart we will find all sorts of challenges," said Nigel Woodward in a prepared statement. Woodward is the managing director of Classic Motor Cars, the U.K. shop entrusted with restoring the Bulldog back to its former glory.

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The process will see Classic Motor Cars change out the car's current green hue and carburetors for its original white and gray paint scheme and a fuel-injection system. While Woodward wants to keep the Bulldog as close to its original configuration as possible, he acknowledged the team at Classic Motor Cars may "may include modern components and technology to improve the car's reliability. "

Regardless of the results of its forthcoming top-speed run, there's no doubt the Bulldog looks like it can hurtle past the 200-mph mark. Credit the Aston's low-slung looks and period aerodynamic details, such as recessed headlights hidden behind a lowering panel and a set of chunky louvers on its rear-end. Let's just hope its stability at 200 mph is closer to that of a modern supercar and not one from the 1980s. Otherwise, we fear the Bulldog's 18-month restoration will be undone in a matter of seconds as its owner's attempts to hit the two-century mark ends with a classic concept car split into multiple pieces.

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