- Works development prototype car, dubbed “P2”, built around a 110-inch Bowler CSP chassis.
- Originally a V-6 engined Bulldog, but now powered by supercharged 5.0-litre Jaguar V8 engine.
- Offered directly from the collection of former Bowler Motors Limited Director Richard Hayward.
- Tested by Autocar magazine and listed in their Top Ten Driver’s cars of 2019.
- Fully road legal but with prodigious off-road capability and performance.
The introduction of Bowler’s patented Cross Sector Platform (CSP) chassis in 2015 marked a new era for the company both technically and philosophically. As well as liberating their engineers from longstanding reliance upon the ageing - and torsionally flexible - ladder-type Defender chassis, it also offered up new possibilities in terms of prospective power plants and drivetrains - and crucially enabled the company to embark upon production of their next generation of off-road and exclusive SUV vehicles which continues to this day.
Originally configured as a turbocharged 3.0-litre V-6 Bulldog - the first Bowler model to feature the CSP chassis - this particular vehicle was subsequently re-worked at the factory to accommodate a Jaguar-derived supercharged 5.0-litre V-8 engine and eight-speed ZF Automatic gearbox. Offering an awe-inspiring 542 bhp, coupled with some 516 lbs/ft of torque, unsurprisingly the vehicle’s ancillary components were required to be uprated accordingly. Tailored competition specification remote-reservoir Bilstein shock absorbers offered almost 30 centimetres of suspension travel, whilst ventilated disc brakes with Brembo calipers were fitted to all four wheels. A torque bias centre differential was fitted, complimented by an open differential to the front and an E-Diff to the rear to ensure excellent traction at all times.
It was in this latter V8-engined form that this vehicle was tested by Autocar magazine in November 2019, shortlisted as it was alongside the likes of the McLaren 600LT, Lamborghini Huracan Evo and Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 63S as one of their Top Ten Driver’s cars of the year. Despite being tested in the somewhat incongruous setting - for a near two-ton 4x4 at least - of Anglesey Circuit in North Wales, “P2” acquitted itself brilliantly, drawing praise from the assembled judging panel for its minimal chassis flex, precise steering and exceptional ride quality.
P2 is currently configured - in the perhaps slightly tongue-in-cheek words of the vendor - as “virtually a road car”, offering remarkable docility if desired yet prodigious performance if provoked. Ergonomically speaking, the vehicle appears in left hand drive form and features a Motec LCD dash display, “push button” switchgear, heater unit (with separate 6 kW air conditioning unit) and LED lights throughout, including bumper mounted Lazer ST4 spotlights. In terms of safety equipment, the vehicle is fitted with an FIA-specification 90 litre fuel cell, MSA/ FIA certified roll cage and twin competition type buckets seats, both of which are fitted with six-point competition harnesses.
Undoubtedly a highly significant vehicle in the context of Bowler history in general, and of the CSP project in particular, P2 offers a fascinating link between its Defender-based antecedents and the Bowlers of the present day. Finished in the fetching colour scheme of deep red with a black roof and contrasting graphite six-spoke 18-inch Compomotive wheels, this remarkably versatile and agile vehicle is ready to embark upon a new chapter in its illustrious history and to enthral and delight once again.