Land Rover has bought out the maker of extreme off-roaders, Bowler.
Bowler, which became famous for building ultra-high-performance off-roading machines based on Land Rovers, shot to fame following an appearance on Top Gear, and has since built quite the reputation for making everything from fast, road-legal cars to full-on Rally Raid competition machines.
Now, it's going to be part of the Land Rover family, following news that Land Rover is going to buy the entire company. Bowler will become part of Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations. According to a statement by Land Rover: "SVO a fast-growing business that amplifies the key attributes of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles to create distinctive world-class products - including SV, Vehicle Personalisation and Classic. Adding Bowler as a fourth business unit is a natural fit."
Bowler founded in 1985
Bowler was originally established in 1985 and has had a formal arrangement with Land Rover since 2012 that included the creation of the Defender Challenge off-road racing series. Sadly, company founder Drew Bowler passed away in 2016, but the company still includes family members in key positions, and it will continue, for the foreseeable, to operate from its traditional home in Derbyshire.
Reputation forged in motorsport
Michael van der Sande, Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, said: "For almost 35 years the Bowler name has stood for innovation and success, with a reputation forged by its participation in the world's toughest off-road motorsport competitions. It's exciting that we're now in a position to participate in and lead the Bowler brand's future as part of Jaguar Land Rover.
"At Special Vehicle Operations we are all eager to start working with our new colleagues at Bowler. Adding the Bowler team's skills and experience to those of SV, Vehicle Personalisation and Classic is a key step in our strategy to create an exciting and diverse portfolio of products and businesses within Special Vehicle Operations. Our immediate focus is on ensuring continuity of support for Bowler employees and customers during this transition to Jaguar Land Rover."
The tantalising possibility is that Land Rover will begin to use the Bowler brand in much the same way as Volvo has done with its Polestar badge - making bespoke performance parts for high-end models, and some limited-run Bowler-branded cars. We can't wait.