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Land Rover gives permission for Defender recreations

In what must be seen, surely, as a swipe across the bows of the Ineos Grenadier, Land Rover has granted Bowler Motorsport permission to make new-build high-performance vehicles using the shape and body style of the original Defender.

575hp supercharged V8

While chemical giant Ineos pushes ahead with development of its Grenadier, which bears a distinct resemblance to the old Defender both in looks and mechanical makeup, Bowler will start development on a new project, codenamed 'CSP 575'. This will use Bowler's own high-strength steel chassis, fitted with Land Rover's potent 575hp 5.0-litre supercharged V8, four sports seats, and a roll cage. Oh, and air conditioning apparently. The chassis and engine will be clad in a body that looks like a ringer for the classic Land Rover Defender 110.

Bowler is owned by Land Rover

Bowler, which is based in Derbyshire in England, has earned much fame over the years for its rally-raid off-road racing cars built in the shape of various Land Rover models, including the Defender and the Range Rover Sport. In 2019, Land Rover actually bought a majority share in Bowler, incorporating it into its own Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) team, so the permission to use the Defender shape isn't really going outside of the Land Rover family.

Since it was bought out, Bowler has been working away in the background, helping Land Rover SVO develop high-performance variants and components, but the CSP 575 will be its first new model since 2016, and its first true on-road vehicle too. It'll be pricey, though - projected UK pricing is already in the region of STG£200,000.

£200,000 price tag

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."

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."