This is the coolest Defender yet.
Bowler is known for creating insanely fast off-road vehicles based on Land Rovers. The company rose to such prominence that it was actually purchased by Land Rover back in 2019. That means Bowler is now a part of the greater Jaguar Land Rover Group, much like AMG is to Mercedes. We knew Bowler was working on a secret project based on the new 2022 Land Rover Defender, and now we get to see the fruits of this collaboration.
Say hello to the Bowler Defender Challenge, a spec rally car that will compete in its own one-make championship. Based on a Defender 90 with the 296-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, Bowler added extreme off-road modifications like a full roll cage, reinforced underbody, lifted suspension, rally-spec 18-inch wheels, and column-mounted paddle shifters.
"The development of the new Bowler Defender Challenge rally car perfectly illustrates the mutual benefits of Bowler joining Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations. Our technical support married to Bowler's legendary rally expertise has turned the extraordinarily capable Defender into a purposeful competition machine," says Michael Van Der Sande, managing director of JLR's SVO department. "The Bowler Defender Challenge will prove the Defender's durability through some of the toughest conditions, while providing an exciting and accessible entry point into all-terrain motorsport for a new generation of Bowler and Land Rover customers."
The 2022 Challenge series will run over seven UK-based rounds, with dates and locations to be announced later in the year. Twelve entries to the series are available for veterans and rookies, each participating in an identical car. Participants with no previous experience can receive training and support to earn the required license.
The vehicle itself is stripped out compared to a street-legal Defender. Nearly all of the sound deadening is gone to accommodate the FIA-standard roll cage, electrical cut-offs, fire protection, and competition race seats. Bowler subtly improved the already tight bodyshell to stand up to off-road conditions and fitted a modified front bumper to increase airflow to the engine.
Customers who wish to take part in the 2022 Challenge can purchase a package starting at £99,500 (around $138,000), which includes a Bowler-prepared Defender and event support. If we had this kind of cash lying around, it seems like a great way to go racing.