- Offered directly from the collection of former Bowler Motors Limited Director Richard Hayward.
- Verified mileage of just 14,694 miles from new.
- Used for PR purposes, appearing in several publications including Car and Evo magazines.
- Class wins in the 2016 Scottish Borders Hill Rally and 2018 Hill Rally Championship.
- Highly specified, including Bowler Stage 2 tuned engine, Bowler/ Alcon brake upgrade and 16” Alloy wheels.
Please note, owing to the UK having now left the European Customs Union, buyers should be aware of any and all implications of purchasing a UK based lot, including but not limited to this lot being subject to VAT on the full purchase price if importing into the EU.
Conceived in 2013 as a one-make, off-road series aimed at aspiring professional and occasional amateur drivers alike, the Defender Challenge was a joint venture between Land Rover and Bowler Motorsport which ran from 2014 until 2016. Regulated by the Motor Sports Association, each season consisted of seven UK-based rounds, all of which supported existing events such as the Somerset Stages, Welsh Hill Rally and Scottish Hill Rally.
A limited run of Land Rover 90 Hardtop-based cars were prepared for the series by Bowler themselves, with ECU-induced modifications resulting in a hike from the 120 bhp and 266 lbs/ feet of torque of the standard Defender to 175 bhp and 332 lbs/feet for its competition counterpart. A standard gearbox and production-specification suspension geometry was retained, although handling was improved by the fitment of custom-made Bilstein shock absorbers and uprated anti-roll bars. Lightweight 16-inch competition style wheels and Kumho tyres were fitted, as was a substantial MSA-approved rollcage and two competition bucket seats. The car’s rallying credentials were further enhanced by the addition of a dash-mounted Terratrip 303 Rally Computer, Peltor intercom and remotely operated ignition cut-off and fire suppression systems.
As the first Defender Challenge constructed, this particular example was assigned the Bowler chassis number “R01”, as stamped on the Bowler chassis plate still affixed to the car. Interestingly, as the works development car, R01 was used in a variety of early press and publicity material for the series, appearing in road/ rally tests in both Car and Evo magazines. Subsequently, the car was used in the Defender Challenge by Bowler Director Richard Hayward and the late Drew Bowler himself, scoring several notable results including a first in class in the 2016 Scottish Borders Hill Rally and a further class win in the 2018 Hill Rally Championship. Throughout its competition career, the car was maintained by Bowler factory mechanics.
In common with several other Defender Challenge cars, R01 later benefitted from a Stage 2 engine upgrade, at a cost of some £3,300, which further boosted power and torque to 195 bhp and 380 lb-ft respectively. Furthermore, it was also modified to accept a later specification Bowler/ Alcon braking system upgrade (a £3,500 factory option), a 3-inch race exhaust system and twin front-mounted high intensity ST4 Lazer lamps. The car’s aggressive stance is completed by the fitment of a Bowler Rally front bumper, steering guard, towing eyes and sill protectors, whilst ergonomic modifications include a suede Momo steering wheel, Bowler Motorsport gear lever kit and polycarbonate sliding side windows.
Showing a recorded mileage of just 14,694 miles from new, the vast majority of which have been covered in competition, R01 represents a rare example of a competition-focussed, rally prepared Land Rover, and is ready for immediate use as both an exhilarating road car or as a competitive entry in any number of the off-road events for which it remains eligible.