SPECIALIST off-road vehicle producer Bowler has been given permission by Land Rover to produce vehicles using the classic Defender shape in the next phase of development for the UK-based manufacturer of all-terrain performance cars and rally raid vehicles.
The new agreement paves the way for Derbyshire-based Bowler to develop a new family of high-performance models, beginning with a project codenamed ‘CSP 575' - a new road-going vehicle with Bowler's own rally-proven high-strength steel chassis, aluminium alloy Defender 110 Station Wagon body panels and Land Rover's 575ps supercharged V8.
The vehicle will be available in limited numbers from 2021, initially in the UK and EU, with an indicative UK price of £200,000.
The project will supplement the ongoing motorsport developments that are the foundation of Bowler's past, present and future plans.
Initial renders of the planned 4x4 provide a glimpse of the rally-derived model, which will be the first new Bowler since 2016.
Full details will be revealed early next year, but the competition-inspired off-roader promises to combine potent performance and motorsport-honed durability in a classic Defender 110 Station Wagon shape capable of accommodating four passengers.
Founded in 1985, Bowler pioneered the production of dedicated off-road competition cars in the UK. Jaguar Land Rover acquired Bowler at the end of 2019 and its expert team has been developing a number of exciting projects as part of Special Vehicle Operations.
Bowler customers are already benefitting from this relationship as Land Rover SV engineers are helping develop Bowler vehicles and using their engineering expertise to test Bowler products at Special Vehicle Operations' world-class facilities.
Land Rover's decision to issue Bowler with a licence agreement to build vehicles using the classic Defender shape is a natural progression of this relationship and the new station wagon project represents a unique undertaking - integrating the technology, components and engineering excellence underpinning Land Rover's SV products with Bowler's motorsport expertise and experience.
Michael van der Sande, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, said:"We're excited to announce the first major project since our acquisition of Bowler. The ‘CSP 575'will combine Supercharged V8 performance and four-seat practicality with Bowler's rally raid-proven CSP platform, broadening the appeal of the brand. This high-performance road-going model will sit alongside Bowler's evolving range of rally raid models, which continue to enjoy success in the world's toughest motorsport events."
The new model will be manufactured in very small quantities at Bowler's near Belper by the same engineers and technicians producing its competition 4x4s.
Calum McKechnie, Bowler's general manager, 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."
Over the years Bowler has built a strong reputation in some of the world's toughest off-road events including the Dakar Rally and the British and French Baja events.
In 2018 it finished first, second and fourth overall in the Tuareg Rallye and the company was acquired by Jaguar Land Rover in 2019 as part of its Special Vehicle Operations division.