Original Land Rover Defender to live on with Bowler
Land Rover has granted permission to Bowler Motorsport, their newly acquired subsidiary, to produce vehicles using the classic Defender shape in the next phase of development for their all-terrain performance cars and rally raid vehicles.
This new agreement paves the way for Bowler to develop a new family of high-performance models, beginning with a project codenamed ‘CSP 575’ – a new road-going vehicle with their own rally-proven CSP high-strength steel chassis, aluminium alloy Defender 110 Station Wagon body panels and Land Rover’s 575PS Supercharged V8. This project will supplement the ongoing motorsport developments that are the foundation of future plans.
Initial renders of the planned 4×4 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.
While this won’t fill the gap that has been left for back to basic farm hacks and utility vehicles, it ensures that those who lament the loss of the original Defender (and there are many) have an option to purchase a new, old, Defender, providing they have deep pockets; the new model is likely to cost around £200k.
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 the team has been developing a number of new projects as part of Special Vehicle Operations.
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 our motorsport expertise and experience, it also put into question the granting of licenses to any other companies, such as INEOS, who were planning to launch a clone of the original Defender.
Michael van der Sande, Managing Director, 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 Bowlers headquarters in Derbyshire, UK, by the same engineers and technicians who produce our competition 4x4s. With global appeal but targeted at customers in the UK, select European and overseas markets.
Calum McKechnie, General Manager, Bowler Motors, 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.”