With the new Defender winning Motor Trend’s SUV of the Year award, it’s clear that Land Rover’s update didn’t ruin the nameplate’s legacy. Still, there’s a significant number of off-road enthusiasts who fondly remember the classic model. As a result, several companies have started restomodding vintage Land Rover Defenders, and even converting them to EVs. And now, Land Rover will offer something like an in-house classic Defender build, courtesy of the off-road experts at Bowler.
The CSP 575 is one of Bowler’s most potent Land Rover Defenders
Even before Land Rover purchased Bowler, the company had already modified classic Defenders for off-road racing. It also released several vehicles built on Land Rover defenders, such as the 550-hp Bulldog.
The upcoming CSP 575, though, is both more potent and more closely tied to the classic Land Rover Defender. Its aluminum body is a full recreation of the original, Hagerty reports, albeit installed over a new steel chassis. And under the hood is a 567-hp version of Jaguar Land Rover’s supercharged 5.0-liter V8, CarThrottle reports. The last time a Defender had a V8, it was a limited-edition model with ‘just’ 400 hp, Autoblog reports.
Naturally, the CSP 575 has four-wheel drive; it also has 4-wheel disc brakes, Robb Report reports. Inside, the SUV has sport seats, a full roll cage, and luxuries like A/C and an audio system, The Drive reports. However, there’s only room for 4 people.
But, if you want a new old Land Rover Defender, Bowler isn’t the only name in town right now. And we’re not talking about restomods.
Bowler’s not the only one bringing back the classic Land Rover Defender
Besides Land Rover and Bowler, there’s another UK-based company with an interest in classic Defenders: Ineos. Owner Jim Ratcliffe wanted to buy the rights to the original SUV, Car and Driver reports, but wasn’t able to. So instead, he decided to start his own car company and make his own interpretation.
That interpretation, the Ineos Grenadier, is so much like the classic Land Rover Defender that the two automakers went to court over it, Autoweek reports. It was a similar situation to FCA and Mahindra over the latter’s Jeep-like Roxor. Only in this case, Ineos won the legal battle, Car and Driver reports.
It can’t use the Defender name, but it can use the SUV’s boxy shape. And while the Ineos Grenadier doesn’t have a V8, it does offer two 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engines, Motor Trend reports. One burns diesel, while the other burns gasoline; both come with an 8-speed automatic. But, like Bowler’s new old Land Rover Defender, it has 4WD with a 2-speed transfer case.
The Ineos Grenadier’s off-road credentials don’t stop there, though. It also has rock-crawling-friendly solid axles as well as locking differentials, Car and Driver reports. Plus, the SUV has integrated roof bars and load-rated body panels and comes pre-wired for extra lights. Depending on which rear door option you pick, the Grenadier can have a spare tire or a roof-access ladder. The interior is also sufficiently water-proof to let owners hose it out.
When and how can you get one in the US?
As of this writing, neither Bowler’s Land Rover Defender or the Ineos Grenadier are available for purchase. The CSP 575 will be fully revealed early in 2021, Motor1 reports, at which point more information will become available. 2021 is also when Ineos plans on releasing the Grenadier.
However, it might be easier and cheaper to find Ineos’ take on the Defender in the US than Bowler’s version. As of this writing, Land Rover hasn’t confirmed if the new Bowler SUV will be sold in the US, Autoblog reports. And in the UK, it will likely cost roughly the equivalent of $263k, Motor1 reports, and only be sold in limited quantities. In contrast, Ineos is planning on selling 25,000 Grenadiers a year, and “is rumored to go for Jeep Wrangler four-door money,” Hagerty reports.
Seeing which of these SUVs defends the Land Rover Defender’s heritage better will have to wait, then.
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