The UK’s Bowler Motors, part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations since late 2019, is developing a family of high-performance models – starting with an officially licensed V8-powered Defender lookalike, sitting on its proprietary rally-ready platform.

    Land Rover put out a press release today announcing it had given Bowler permission to produce vehicles using “the classic Defender shape”. The render pictured is of the first project, codenamed ‘CSP 575‘.

    The CSP 575 uses aluminium alloy ‘classic’ Defender 110 panels. Beneath the bonnet sits JLR’s own 423kW 5.0-litre supercharged V8 familiar from the Range Rover Sport SVR.

    Under the body sits Bowler’s ‘CSP’ high-strength steel chassis that already underpins the company’s International Rally Raid vehicles.

    “This will be a road-going car with room for four and their luggage within the iconic shape of the original Land Rover Defender 110 Station Wagon,” Bowler says.

    “With engineering support from our friends at Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, the CSP 575 adds a little refinement for road use while still retaining the unmistakable rawness and motorsport passion of a Bowler.

    “This is an off-road car designed for the road and will come with a full safety cage as well as air conditioning,” it added.

    The company has been making off-road competition race cars since 1985, and was bought out by JLR last year.

    For its part, JLR said its decision to issue Bowler with a licence agreement to build vehicles using the Defender shape is a “natural progression of this relationship”.

    “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,” the company said.

    Managing Director of JLR SVO, Michael van der Sande, added: “We’re excited to announce the first major project since our acquisition of Bowler”.

    The new model will be manufactured in “very small quantities” at Bowler’s headquarters in Derbyshire, UK, by the same engineers and technicians producing its competition 4x4s. The expected cost? A cool 200,000 pounds ($365,000 AUD).

    We wonder if this is also a subtle shot across the bow at the Ineos Grenadier project detailed extensively here. As we’ve reported, Land Rover lost a UK court bid to trademark the shape of the original Defender.

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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