Classified Info

Land Rover Defender by Bowler #001

To Be Auctioned


Land Rover Defender by Bowler #001- build Number 001, the first car produced for the  Bowler Defender Championship and the first Bowler Defender ever produced for retail.


Since its inception in 1985, Bowler Motors has developed a worldwide reputation in the arena of design and construction of Land Rover-based off-road vehicles. Led by the company’s inspirational founder, Drew Bowler, until his untimely death in 2016, the company grew from a nascent workforce of just eight to the present group of 35 highly-skilled engineers. Initially focussing on the preparation of cars for British off-road events, the company’s ambitions expanded rapidly to encompass participation in events including the Dakar Rally, Morocco Desert Challenge and Spanish Baja and, for the past two decades, their cars have formed the backbone of many Rally Raid events across the globe.

In late 2019, Jaguar Land Rover acquired Bowler to add to their Special Vehicle Operations Division and there were those who were worried that Bowler may become a rather watered-down wing of the larger company, however, that has not been the case with Bowler still enjoying a pleasing level of independence with the bonus of now having access to some of the extensive test and development facilities of JLR. A good example of Bowler/JLR’s positive thinking was the announcement in 2021 of the Bowler Defender Championship, a new one-make rally series to promote the Defender and allow customers to take part in rallying in a cost-controlled environment. The 2022 Series was over six rounds, all gravel rallies, and covered events in England, Scotland and Wales during the year at well known and long established rally events.

The ‘Challenge’ cars were based on a standard car which was taken off the production line and hand-finished by a specialist team at Bowler. The 2-litre Ingenium petrol four-cylinder engine (296bhp and 295lb.ft of torque) and the eight-speed automatic transmission both remained largely untouched in order to achieve identical performance in the competing cars. To this they added:

Structural body and chassis

• Monocoque bracing – minimises body movement and supports underbody protection• Full internal roll-cage integrated with body and linking suspension mounts• Internal spare wheel mount integrated to roll cage• Additional front recovery points• Rally-spec gearbox cross member• Stiffened gearbox mounts• Strengthened engine mounts• Braced front and rear subframes• Front suspension turret brace• Rear turret brace• Strengthened radiator mounts• Adapted chassis and subframe mounts• Rally jacking points


• Improved cooling – auxiliary radiators removed and increased airflow to main radiator• Increased transmission cooling capacity• Sports exhaust system• Bowler 18” wheels with increased strength• BF Goodrich AT tyres• Bespoke suspension design with modified subframes, new springs and unique turrets for increased stiffness• Bespoke Fox dampers• Race steering wheel with quick release boss• Side air intake covers• High level air intake• Front upper wishbone revised to reflect new ride height geometry


• ECU system integration with race box• ABS/DSC – rally control modifications• New integrated wiring harness for new components• New rally-spec facia• Navigator control unit for lights/washer/horn• Rally system integration with JLR safety systems• Adapted body control unit


• High-level rear marker lights• Alpine, door and rear windows replaced with Polycarbonate• Race sports seats with specific race seat mounts• 6-point race harness• Integrated and hand-held fire suppression• Electrical cut-off switches – internal and external• Complete removal of all airbag systems


• Front bumper adapted to take new underbody protection• Bowler front grille with increased air flow• Rear roof spoiler with extended profile and integrated additional reversing lights• Front and rear wing shields to meet new underbody protection• Wheel arch extensions utilising accessory fitment• Door lowers – protection pieces on shortened doors• Team livery


• Additional bonnet-mounted windscreen washers – to deal with rally levels of water splash• Front driving lights for increased night driving illumination• Rally-spec mud flaps• Full underbody protection system – 6mm aluminium reinforced design• New gear shift position – optimised to sports seats• Column-mounted gear shift paddles – unique to Bowler• Passenger foot rest• Rear door manual release mechanism• Wheel arch lines – increased strength to meet rally requirements

We are delighted to offer, here at the Silverstone Festival 2023, Bowler Defender – Build Number 001, the first car produced for the Championship and the first Bowler Defender produced for retail, all confirmed by the Bowler Chassis Plate and the relevant documentation that accompanies the car.

#001 was ordered at the beginning of 2021 as part of the Bowler Defender Challenge and, at the time of purchase, was equipped with all the possible options from Bowler including Rally Package One and Rally Package Two. It took part in five rounds of the 2022 Championship, winning the longest and most challenging event, the three-day Welsh Hill Rally.

Initially it was retained by Bowler and has been featured in a number of their promotional videos, both for JLR and their own marketing requirements. As part of its high-profile, #001 starred in the Car Wow  ‘tug-of-war’ contest and was used for a full days testing and training in conjunction with Mark Higgins at Walters Arena.

A complete new engine was fitted by JLR Special Vehicles around 600 miles ago, with only one event since, and the car is up to date with all the more recent Bowler modifications including the uprated radiator mounting system and the modified torque tube and subframe. It’s complete with a full tool kit, two rally computers, upgraded light pack, twin intercom system and road-compliant headsets plus the aforementioned paperwork. It has been used competitively and therefore does have bodywork in line with a competition vehicle with some inevitable scratches and small dents.

The final three rounds of the 2023 Tata Elxsi Defender Rally Series by Bowler await, with a full seven-round championship planned for next year, so what better way to join the fray than in Bowler Defender Number 1, fully developed, an existing winner, with a recent fresh power unit and very sensibly guided given the potential on offer.



We are now inviting entries for The Classic Sale at Silverstone Festival – one of our biggest auctions of the year. This is our 13th year as the event’s exclusive Auction partner and this year we will be holding a Race and Competition Car Sale on Friday 25th August followed by a Sale of Collectors’ and Classic Road Cars on Saturday 26th August. Join us for one of the best historic motorsport weekends of the year, attracting around 110,000 visitors, where you can also enjoy incredible live music, family fun, a foodie fest and of course our fabulous auctions.

Seller Info

by Silverstone Auctions
Published: 28 June 2023 (3 months ago)
To Be Auctioned
Member Since
19 Dec 2013
Phone Number
+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Currency Options
To Be Auctioned
Seller Accepts
Bank Transfer
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