Bowler Defender 100th Edition looks the business

The Faat Road Conversion is at the core of what makes Bowler special – it pays tribute with one-of-a-kind model

By PH Staff / Wednesday, 8 March 2023 / Loading comments

Most of us are suckers for an old Defender. This has been true for years, and it’s likely to stay true forever now because the car is such a lively counterpoint to anything being produced this decade – and that absolutely includes its (very pleasant) successor. Of course, what sort of old Defender you’re partial to is very much all about you. Some people regard battered, 20-year-old, TD5 Defenders with the affection normally lavished on household pets. Or children. For others, only a mollycoddled V8 will do – no matter what the cost. 

Then there are the modified cars, where the choice is absurdly plentiful – and highly variable in terms of quality and desirability. One tuner that needs no introduction is Bowler; partly because it was made famous by successfully racing Land Rover products all over the globe, and partly, of course, because it now counts itself as a member of the wider JLR family, having been acquired in 2019. It’s had a number of things on the boil since then – not least the CSP 575 project – but it has continued doing the core things, which includes converting cars using the experience gleaned from the Defender Challenge race series.

To mark its 100th full commission, Bowler has revealed a one-of-a-kind Fast Road Conversion dubbed, fittingly, the Bowler Defender 100th Edition. Plainly it’s a 90 – one from JLR’s own fleet, no less – and has undergone a ‘comprehensive refresh’. As you might expect, it’s been treated to Bowler’s Stage 2 power upgrade (which straps a race-spec intercooler to the venerable Ford Duratorq motor) and the performance exhaust. That ought to give you around 195hp – exactly the sort of output the Bowler’s Fast Road suspension (bespoke Bilstein dampers, new springs, anti-roll bars, bushes) was designed to take full advantage of. 

Throw in a set of lightweight 18-inch Bowler Motorsport wheels and BF Goodrich All-Terrain tyres (not to mention the upgraded Big Brake kit), and you’ve already got yourself a first-class, go-anywhere, tow-anything Defender – but predictably the 100th Edition goes further. There’s a bespoke (and really rather nice) graphics package and badges for one thing; Bowler’s external protection pack in Corris Grey for another. Then there’s the fully soundproofed interior, which gets Recaro SVX 60th Anniversary seats, a gear-shifter kit and Alpine double din head unit to go with its Momo steering wheel and Alcantara roof lining. In other words, it showcases pretty much everything Bowler can do to a Defender – which is a lot. Accordingly, you won’t be surprised to hear it costs a lot, too – £78,000 plus the VAT. Although in terms of one-of-a-kind Defenders, perhaps that isn’t much at all. 

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