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New Defender could be next for Bowler's rally treatment

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New Defender could be next for Bowler's rally treatment


Future Bowler models could be based on current Land Rover bodystyles, raising the prospect of a rally-spec reworking of the new Defender in the future.

Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations boss Michael van der Sande said the firm was still finalising long-term plans for the newly purchased Derbyshire firm, but he hinted at future projects, which could include different bodystyles.

“Could we ever see Bowler getting involved with other products than the old Defender shape? Absolutely,” said ven der Sande. “We’ve just launched the new Defender, which is making quite a splash, and that needs to bed in from a Land Rover point of view.

“Bowler is going to be very busy with the CSP 575 for a little while, but in the course of time, whether it’s the Defender or other products from Land Rover that Bowler could sprinkle some off-road rally dust on, it’s absolutely possible.”

Earlier this year we revealed that Land Rover was testing a range-topping V8 version of the latest Defender, as first prototypes for the model hit the roads in disguise. Prototypes of the hot 4×4 were running JLR’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8 in an unknown state of tune. With insiders confirming that it’s not a project under the Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) banner, it’s entirely possible that Bowler could be working on something special.

It is understood that more ‘mainstream’ future high-end models, such as the 2021 Range Rover, will move to using a twin-turbocharged V8 sourced from BMW. However, JLR has secured production of its venerable 5.0-litre ‘AJ’ V8 in-house for the foreseeable future after production at the long-standing Ford engine factory in Bridgend ceased earlier this year. 

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