The old Land Rover Defender isn’t dead yet after all: off-road racing specialist Bowler has been granted a licence to carry on using the iconic body on its mud-plugging competition vehicles – and the first ones will be fully road-legal.
Land Rover, which bought Bowler last year, has given its new in-house racing wing the rights to the unmistakeable two-box shape. It’s especially good news because, and let’s be frank here, every single Defender-based vehicle that Bowler turns out looks absolutely awesome.
It’s great news to see such a significant design living on. There’s a first vehicle in the offing, too. What you’re looking at is a Defender 110-based idea codenamed project CSP 575, combining Bowler’s own mighty steel chassis with JLR’s equally testicle-laden supercharged 5.0-litre V8.
In 567bhp trim the raucous eight-pot will turn all four wheels into a filthy blur at every mash of the throttle pedal while one of the gods’ own soundtracks pulses around the countryside. It’s not all sweaty, mud-soaked testosterone, though, because you can actually spec air conditioning if you like.
Four sports seats grip a driver and up to three extremely brave passengers, all cocooned by an internal, integrated roll cage. These renders give an insight into how the finished article will look in 2021. Limited numbers will go on sale with a starting price of roughly, err, £200,000, which isn’t actually that bad for the amount of engineering and performance that’s engineered-in.
This is the first Bowler vehicle to be built with JLR Special Vehicle Operations input. It’s going to be built at Bowler HQ in Derbyshire. General manager of the company, Calum McKechnie, said:
“The Bowler name has stood for innovation for 35 years. The licence agreement to produce vehicles with the classic Defender shape gives us a unique opportunity. We’re excited to combine our motorsport experience with the expertise available from Special Vehicle Operations to produce a thrilling competition-inspired Defender 110 Station Wagon for the road.”