Auf wiedersehen, Porsche: the last 991 is finally built

Last Porsche 991 has been built

Even though the current ‘992’ Porsche 911 has been with us for more than a year, the previous 991 remained in production, albeit only the very special versions. The final 991 to be made is a Speedster, a limited model that pays homage to Porsche’s 70-year heritage, and is based on the GT3.

This Speedster is the last of 233,540 991s produced since 2011. This represents just under a quarter of all the 911s ever produced. The one-millionth 911 was made during the 991’s tenure, too. Porsche challenged its fans to spec the milestone model.

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“Porsche stands for both tradition and innovation,” said Michael Steiner, chief research and development officer at Porsche.

“This is reflected nowhere more clearly than in the core of the brand – the 911. The 911 replaced the 356 in 1963 and, in the decades that followed, our rear-engine model grew into an unrivalled sports car icon.

“The 991 generation in particular has set new standards in terms of performance, drivability and efficiency. It fills me with pride, as well as a touch of sadness, to have to send it off into retirement. For myself, I can say that the 991 has given me enormous pleasure.”

Last Porsche 991 has been built

The 991had many challenges to overcome in its lifetime. Electric steering, a lack of manual gearboxes, fires, and the arrival of turbocharging, are perhaps some of the greatest obstacles the 911 has faced.

Somehow, they did it. Some variants of the 991 will go down in history with the 911 greats. It also birthed some of the fastest 911s ever made, including a fettled version of the GT2 RS that continues to hold the production car lap record around the Nurburgring.

Last Porsche 991 has been built

The 991 was well-represented in racing as well, with the outgoing RSR winning its class at Le Mans (in the famous ‘Pink Pig’ livery, and filling La Sarthe with a searing flat-six soundtrack on the way).

The 991, with the odds initially stacked against it, will be remembered fondly.

Tesla’s 1,000mph V3 Supercharger has arrived in London

Tesla V3 supercharger in London

Tesla has begun rolling out its super-fast V3 Superchargers in Europe, with the first appearing in London at the Park Royal service centre.

This also represents the 500th Supercharger station to open in Europe, following the network’s introduction in Norway in 2013.

Tesla V3 Supercharging: what it meansTesla V3 supercharger in London

V2 Superchargers already offer an impressive rate of charging for Tesla cars. Their maximum power output was recently upgraded from 120kW to 150kW. The V3 units move things on massively, offering a peak output of 250kW.

For context, pictured is a Tesla charging at a rate of 1,021 electric range miles per hour. It shows 20 minutes remaining on the charge to get to 100 percent from 18 percent.

An important aspect of V3 charging is that power isn’t split between you and another car sharing your stall. So you get that maximum output more of the time.

Tesla says V3 can provide 75 miles of charge in five minutes, at maximum capacity, to a Model 3 Long Range. Overall, the company reckons it will halve the amount of time drivers spend charging. Average charge time at V3 stalls should be around 15 minutes, or 225 miles, which is close to a full fill-up for some lower-end cars.

Charging this quickly might sound like it could damage the battery. Indeed, there are certain preparations the cars can make before being plugged in. ‘On-Route Battery Warmup’ is a feature that rolled out to Teslas when V3 Superchargers first appeared in March. Cars that are navigating to a Supercharger will ready their batteries to the correct temperature.

Tesla V3 supercharger in London

‘We are excited to continue to build the most extensive and advanced network in Europe whilst keeping the charging experience as affordable and convenient as possible for all our customers,’ said Tesla.

‘When we opened the first European station in Norway in 2013, driving across multiple countries in a fully electric car was inconceivable and seen as a unique accomplishment. With the Supercharger network, long distance EV travel has become the new normal. Every day, thousands of Tesla owners undertake a road trip through Europe and stop at Supercharger stations.’

How Highways England will keep the roads clear on Christmas Day

Highways England keeping roads clear Christmas Day

Last year, Highways England’s traffic officers responded to 611 road incidents on Christmas Day. Proof, if proof were needed, that life goes on after everyone has driven home for Christmas.

Included in the 611 incidents were 343 breakdowns, 24 collisions and 17 instances of animals on the motorway.

There were 310 collisions on England’s motorways during the four days before Christmas Day – half the total number of collisions attended to by Highways England across the 12-day festive period.

Little wonder Highways England operates 24/7, 365 days a year to keep traffic flowing.

Spare a thought for the traffic officers and control room operators who will be keeping the roads clear on Christmas Day. For some, it’s a case of keeping it in the family.

Take husband and wife Greg and Angela, who will be patrolling the A38 and M5 in Devon. “Christmas Day may be a bit unusual for us but we want everyone to have safe Christmas journeys and we can celebrate later!” Angela said.

“And our Christmas message to anyone driving is to check your vehicle before you set off – to help ensure you get to your destination safely.”

Meanwhile, father and son Nick and Phil Shaw will be monitoring the motorways and A-roads of the East Midlands from the control room in Nottingham. Back in the South West control room near Bristol, mother Beverley and son Tom will be keeping eyes on the region’s roads to handle any incidents and maintain the flow of traffic.

‘Prevention is better than cure’

Highways England roads on Christmas Day

South West Operations Manager Beverley said: “It’s the first time Tom and I will have worked the Christmas Day shift. We’ll be up at 4.30am for our shift, and we’ll get in a little earlier to ensure our night duty team can get back and get some sleep before enjoying their Christmas.

“I usually prepare dinner for my family and parents, Tom included, but this year the preparations will be done a little earlier and the celebration will just be a little later –it’ll also mean an early night as we’re both back in for the Boxing Day shift.

“It’s certainly going to be a family affair on Christmas Day as my husband, Andy, has promised to bring in bacon butties for all the control room operators.”

The traffic officers are urging motorists to carry out a few simple checks to their vehicles – and to make sure they have plenty of fuel – to avoid spending Christmas Day on a motorway verge.

Phil Shaw advised: “Prevention is better than cure. By preparing for the journey, checking tyres, oil and so forth, it will make sure people don’t break down in the first place and everyone has a happy Christmas.”

How to avoid a Christmas breakdown

Winter breakdowns RAC

Highways England has issued five tips to avoid a breakdown while you are driving home for Christmas:

  • Lights: Ask someone to help you check the lights, including the brakes and reversing lights
  • Oil: Use a dipstick to check you have enough oil and prevent your engine from seizing up
  • Fuel: Always keep your fuel tank at least a quarter full and fill it up to the top ahead of a long journey
  • Tyres: Check the pressure and tread depth of your tyres to make sure they are safe and roadworthy
  • Screenwash: Keep your screenwash container topped up so you can clear dirt off your windscreen

Van drivers ‘feel responsible’ for delivering Christmas

Van drivers feel pressure to deliver Christmas

If it’s not Father Christmas sliding down your chimney and putting presents under your tree, who is it? We hate to disappoint, but very often it’s van drivers. Many face tight schedules to deliver gifts for Christmas, and are feeling the pressure.

Indeed, according to new research, 95 percent of drivers feel directly responsible for making sure the Christmas period happens without a hitch.

One in five will spend 40 hours working away over Christmas. That amounts to four extra hours per driver, per week, to deliver an estimated 100 million parcels in December alone. The extra workload is largely thought to be due to online shopping.

How technology helps UK van driversVan drivers feel pressure to deliver Christmas

Mercedes-Benz Vans surveyed more than 2,000 van drivers, with 36 percent saying technology was essential for them to deliver on time.

Forty-two percent use it to manage their workload, while 44 percent use it to stay connected.

As for the future, 54 percent believe that improved tech will be the biggest driver of growth in their business over the next year. 

Van drivers feel pressure to deliver Christmas

“We’re so lucky that the nations’ hardworking van community gives Father Christmas such a helping hand this time of year,” said Steve Bridge, managing director of Mercedes-Benz Vans UK.

“But with the longer hours and increased pressure, we also need to make sure that they all feel supported and that we express our gratitude to them.”

“From fixing broken central heating, to bringing the new cooker for Christmas day lunch, to delivering the perfect presents and food, to ferrying around revellers on a festive night out, our UK van community works tirelessly to keep us all moving, especially at this time of year, and for that, we salute you all – thank you for all you do.”

How the AA will find you using three short words

AA is using What3Words

A leading breakdown organisation has partnered with What3Words to make it easier to locate stricken motorists.

The technology divides the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares – each one given a unique What3Words address.

For example, ‘Audit.Twins.Cute’ takes you to a precise spot on the M6 motorway. Meanwhile, Wembley Stadium is ‘Fuzzy.Icon.Driver’.

Silverstone circuit? That’ll be ‘Joints.Muddle.Cyber’.

AA customers who break down can now give the operator their exact What3Words address when calling for help.

The What3Words app is available to download for free for iOS and Android smartphones, or via the online map at What3Words.com.

The system should be useful if you’re not 100 percent sure where you have broken down, or for duplicate addresses. What3Words has placed similar sounding addresses far apart, and homophones (words with the same pronunciation but different meanings) have been removed to avoid confusion.

If you break down in a rural location, you can guide the recovery truck straight to the car, rather than describing the spot as ‘somewhere between two villages’.

‘Strange but smart’

AA teams up with What3Words

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Breaking down in an unfamiliar location can be a daunting experience for anyone. This simple solution helps drivers to identify where they are – and helps us find them even faster.

“By using the latest technology we are continuing to enhance our services. Using three everyday words might seem strange but is a smart way to get you back on the road.”

Chris Sheldrick, CEO and co-founder of What3Words added: “Earlier this year, What3words was rolled out by emergency services across the country. One of the key areas that our system proved invaluable was on long stretches of motorways and unnamed rural roads.

“These locations can be incredibly difficult to describe and when responding quickly is crucial to keep people safe, the precision and ease of three words can save vital time in locating someone in need of help. The AA have been quick to see this same benefit, ensuring that their control rooms are trained to use What3Words to locate callers and dispatch help exactly where it’s needed.“

 

Professional racing driver sent on speed awareness course

Ollie Webb racing driver speed awareness course

Professional racing driver Ollie Webb, who has previously driven cars on closed circuits at more than 250 miles per hour, has been sent on a speed awareness course.

The Le Mans racer was caught speeding, doing 52 miles per hour in a 50 zone in the middle of the night.

In a post on Instagram, he gave details on the circumstances of his speeding faux pas. “Speed awareness course tomorrow, first one ever and for 52 in a 50 on the M6 at 3am in the truck lane.”

Not to have his festive spirits dampened, he added “nothing will get me down though, as it’s finally starting to feel like Christmas”.

In another previous post, he noted how impressed he was with French hypercar maker Bugatti’s 300 mph record earlier this year, and reminisced about his escapades at 250 mph and beyond.

There is an irony, then, that he should be pulled up for going just 2 mph over the limit. While no speeding offence is necessarily tolerable, ordinarily, there is room for manoeuvre.

Ten percent plus 2 mph is generally the accepted range for discrepancy, meaning you should technically be able to “get away” with 57 mph in a 50 mph zone. 

One commenter on his Instagram post shared exacerbation about the strictness of the situation, saying “the world has gone mad. 2 mph over the limit! Where’s the common sense,” to which Webb responded, “exactly”.

Ollie Webb racing driver speed awareness course

Still, there is humour in the darkest of times. Commenters on his Instagram post haven’t wasted any time in having a laugh about it. 

The old “who do you think you are, Stirling Moss!?” advert springs to mind.

Ollie has had a varied career in racing, starting with karting, moving through lower-level formula racing, hill climbs and into GT racing. He’s a European Le Mans Series Champion, and a Dubai 24-hour winner. He’s also spent time in the LMP1 hot seat at Le Mans.

How to drive safely through flood water

How to drive safely through flood water

Three quarters of drivers (74 percent) would risk driving through flood water. That’s despite it being the leading cause of death in flooded areas. Indeed, 32 percent of flood-related deaths are in vehicles.

New research reveals that many drivers are oblivious to the risks associated with driving through flood water. With heavy rain expected over the Christmas period, this could spell trouble for many motorists.

Just 30cm of moving water is enough to float a car, but only one in four drivers (24 percent) would find an alternative route to avoid a flooded road. 

In November, three people were rescued from the roof of a car in Devon after fast-flowing water reached the windows of their vehicle. Meanwhile, a woman in Doncaster had to be rescued from a submerged car.

The survey carried out by the AA in partnership with the Environment Agency found that Leicester is the top place for flood-related breakdowns in the UK.

Watery Gate Lane played host to 88 flood-related callouts between 2014 and 2018. It tops the list of the top 10 places for breakdowns due to flood water.

LocationCallouts
Watery Gate Lane, Leicester88
Rufford Lane, Newark71
Houndsfield Lane, Birmingham49
Furnace Grange Road, Wolverhampton37
Riverside, Dartford35
Buttsbury, Essex32
Green Road, Birmingham30
Tanners Lane, Salisbury28
Riverside/The Embankment, Twickenham28
Hawkswood Lane, Gerrards Cross27

‘Never drive through flood water’

Never drive through flood water

Caroline Douglass, director of incident management and resilience at the Environment Agency, said: “It is concerning that so many drivers are willing to risk their own life and the lives of others by driving through flood water.

“Our message is clear: surface water flooding it is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car. Never drive through flood water. Turn around and find another route.”

The AA’s Ben Sheridan added, “Don’t chance it if the road ahead is flooded – flood water can be deceptively deep and can hide other hazards in the road which can leave you stranded.

“Trying to drive through flood water puts you and your passengers at risk, but it can also cause damage to your car. It only takes an egg-cupful of water to wreck your engine and on many cars, the engine’s air intake is low down at the front.”

How to drive through SHALLOW flood water

Flood water in Worcestershire

The message is pretty clear: you should avoid driving through a flood. However, if you decide that the flood is shallow enough to drive through, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has the following advice:

  • Allow oncoming traffic to pass before driving through the flood water.
  • Drive along the highest part of the road (usually the centre), but look out for approaching drivers who may be doing the same thing.
  • Go slowly and keep to a steady speed.
  • Use first gear and keep revs high by slipping the clutch (keep it partly engaged).
  • Once you’ve made it through, test your brakes before resuming normal driving.

NEVER attempt to drive through fast-moving water such as a flooded bridge or a ford. Conditions can change rapidly, so you may be swept away. Equally, you don’t know if the flood water is hiding debris or a broken road.

MG in flood water

If your engine cuts out after driving through flood water, don’t attempt to restart it. Instead, call your breakdown provider and wait for help.

The AA lists these facts about flood water. They are worth considering before you attempt to drive through a flood.

  • Most drowning deaths happen within three metres of a safe point
  • Two-thirds of people who die in flood-related incidents are good swimmers
  • Just 15cm of fast-flowing water can knock you off your feet
  • If the speed of the water doubles, the force it exerts on you and your car goes up four times
  • Flood water can carry diseases

Listen to local traffic and weather reports, and use social media to receive an early warning of roads blocked by flood water. It’s better to plan ahead than it is to react to sudden changes in conditions.

The coolest police cars from around the world

Cool cop cars

While the average police car might be a Vauxhall Astra or Hyundai i30 with a livery and lights, there are many exciting and exotic pursuit vehicles, too. From Autobahn-storming super saloons to blues-and-twos Lamborghinis, these are the police cars you don’t want to see flashing in your rear-view mirror.

ABT Audi RS4-R Cool cop cars

The standard Audi RS4 isn’t the sort of car you can be caught in a chase with and still get away. Nonetheless, renowned Audi tuner ABT Sportsline has given the car added muscle befitting an elite member of the force. This 530hp RS4-R was displayed at the Essen Motor Show in 2019. Schnell!

Ford Ranger RaptorCool cop cars

Meanwhile, in the UK, our police force has got something in stock for rural getaways. The new Ford Ranger Raptor is a baja-bashing beast of a truck, with trick Fox Racing shocks and knobbly tyres. You’re not getting away, even if you trade that stolen Golf R for an ATV.

Ford Focus ST EstateCool cop cars

Even if you stick with the Golf, you’ll need to be quite tasty behind the wheel to get away from the new liveried Focus ST wagon that’s just joined the fleet. In days past, it was the fast Fords being nicked and chased after…

Honda Civic Type RWorld’s coolest police cars

A police force in Australia has taken delivery of a 320hp Honda Civic Type R. The hot hatch will join New South Wales Police officers on the Eyewatch social media initiative, aimed at building relationships between law enforcers and communities. Keep clicking to see other cool police cars from around the world.

Black Badge and ‘blues and twos’

World’s coolest police cars

If you’re hoping to add some sparkle to a police station event, it helps when you have the home of the world’s most famous luxury carmaker on your doorstep. Which explains why this one-off Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge made an appearance at a Chichester police station open day. Unsurprisingly, there are no plans for it to join the Sussex Police fleet of patrol cars, but it would certainly be a relaxing way to accompany an officer to the station for questioning.

Porsche on patrol

World’s coolest police cars

Bad news for criminals in Austria: the country’s police force has taken custody of a Porsche 911 for motorway patrol duties. The turbocharged 991 Carrera has all the equipment it needs for service, including blue lights and a radio system.

BMW X4 by AC Schnitzer

World’s coolest police cars

A lifestyle SUV-cum-coupe might be an unusual choice for a cop car, but hey, even the police have to look good, right? This is BMW’s X4 ‘Polizei’ modified by German tuners AC Schnitzer for the Essen Motor Show.

Performance

World’s coolest police cars

The German police machine is only an X4 20i, so it’s not packing the triple turbo straight-six from the M3 and M4. Still, AC Schnitzer has tuned the 2.0-litre turbo motor from 184 to 245hp, dropping the 0-62mph time to a respectable 6.7 seconds. Should be enough to keep up with any opportunistic joyriders.

Wales tail

World’s coolest police cars

The New South Wales (NSW) Police Force in Australia also uses a fully-liveried Porsche 911 for patrols. Any criminal is likely to think twice before trying to out-run it.

Porsche 911

World’s coolest police cars

The 911 can hit 62mph in less than five seconds, although the NSW Police force says that this car will mostly be used to attend community events where “the fascination of a Porsche in police decals is helping to break the ice especially with youths in disadvantaged areas”.

Porsche 911

World’s coolest police cars

This is certainly one of the coolest police cars around, but it has more competition than you might imagine. Here, we’ve collected some of the most eye-catching and unusual vehicles ever to wear a police logo and a set of flashing lights.

Dodge Charger Pursuit

World’s coolest police cars

This is the Dodge Charger Pursuit, a seriously mean-looking machine that became available to US police forces a few years ago.

Dodge Charger Pursuit

World’s coolest police cars

The Charger Pursuit is far from being all show and no go, either – it’s available with a 375hp 5.7-litre Hemi V8 and comes with upgraded suspension and a reinforced chassis.
Police forces with more modest pursuit goals – or greater concern for fuel economy – can opt for the rear-wheel-drive V6 version.

Lamborghini Huracan

World’s coolest police cars

The Italians are known for their flair and style, and it seems that extends to the country’s police force, too. Even before many customer orders were fulfilled, the Italian State Police took delivery of its brand new 610hp, 202mph-plus, 5.2-litre V10-engined Lamborghini Huracan police car in spring 2014. Now you’re going to need an Aventador to get away from them…

Chevrolet Tahoe

World’s coolest police cars

Named after a Californian lake, the Chevrolet Tahoe is the perfect US cop car. A bull bar ensures chases are over before you can say “stay in the car, sonny”, and its go-anywhere ability means offenders aren’t getting away even if they take a detour through the desert. It looks menacing, too, and there’s a couple of spotlights to help catch suspects in dark alleys.

Greater Manchester Police Pride Hyundai i30

World’s coolest police cars

There are plenty of Hyundai i30 police cars dotted around the UK, but none quite as colourful as this. The Greater Manchester Police ‘Pride Police car’ was created to reach out to the LGBT community during Manchester’s Pride Festival and decked out in the event’s rainbow flag colours.

Renault RS Megane

World’s coolest police cars

The French are a pretty patriotic bunch when it comes to cars, and that extends to what the gendarmes drive. From Paris to Poitiers the French force can usually be seen driving a battered old blue Megane or Scenic; this racy Renaultsport Megane 265 is a cut above the rest.

BMW 4 Series

World’s coolest police cars

German tuner AC Schnitzer regularly toys with police cars and one of its most recent creations is this BMW 428i complete with Polizei graphics and flashing lights on the roof. Before being put into service with Germany’s finest motorway cops, AC upgraded the engine to 294hp so it should be powerful enough to chase down speeders on the Autobahn.

Ferrari FF

World’s coolest police cars

First, a Lamborghini and now a Ferrari FF – the Dubai police force is building an impressive fleet of supercars to track speeding motorists in the desert. With four seats, the FF makes more sense than a Lamborghini Aventador as a cop car, and it’s just as potent: the £227k motor has a 6.2 V12 putting out 650hp and capable of 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 208mph.

Chevrolet Caprice

World’s coolest police cars

New York City police officers man a checkpoint in Times Square, using their Chevrolet Caprice cop cars to block the road. Notice the rubber bumper bars to ram other cars off the road. The US cops don’t mess around if they want you to stop.

Lamborghini Aventador

World’s coolest police cars

It’s known as the capital of bling, so when it comes to policing Dubai, it takes a special kind of cop car to keep up with the 200mph+ hypercars you regularly see in the Emirate city.
Step forward the Lamborghini Aventador – one of the many jaw-dropping cars on the Dubai police force’s fleet.

Lamborghini Aventador

World’s coolest police cars

While it’s clearly more of a marketing exercise, it is expected that the Aventador will have a practical purpose as it tries to reign in the propensity for young male drivers to speed on the quiet desert roads. The Dubai police force has imposed strict new punishments for drivers who speed above 124mph, with hefty fines and even jail sentences on the cards.

Lamborghini Aventador

World’s coolest police cars

The £250k Aventador is perfect for the task: its 6.5-litre V12 engine produces 700hp and 508 lb/ft of torque and can hit 62mph in 2.9 seconds. Flat out it’ll reach 217mph. Fast as that is, it will still struggle to keep up with a Bugatti Veyron…

More of the coolest cop cars:

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Official: Brexit is already costing motorists more

Strange questions to car dealers

New research has looked at how the result of the EU referendum in 2016 has affected the cost of motoring in the UK. In the years since Britain voted out, motoring costs, including buying, maintainance, fuel and insurance, have all increased.

The increases may be due to both the uncertainty around Brexit, and how the pound has weakened as a result. Overall, average vehicle ownership costs are up 9.3 percent. That compares with a 7.3 percent rate of inflation over the same period.

In showrooms, the price of a new car has risen by an average of 12.3 percent, based on figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Vauxhall Corsa

Vantage Leasing, which originally published the research, cites the Vauxhall Corsa as an example. While a 1.4i Design five-door was £12,480 in November 2016, that rose to £14,025 by June 2019. That’s a 12.4 percent increase in price.

In terms of insuring your car, the cost is also up, although not by an enormous amount. A year’s insurance in summer 2016 cost an average of £737. During the same period in 2019, the cost was £783, or £46 more. That’s a rise of 6.2 percent.

cost to run a car increases after brexit vote

Looking after your car costs more too. Vehicle maintenance and repairs have risen in price by 9.2 percent over the last three years. Spare parts are up 8.7 percent and tyres are 6.4 percent pricier.

A steady rise in the price of fuel is, however, is a phenomenon much older than the EU referendum. The normal fluctuations combined with the influence of Brexit have seen pump prices higher overall. The average price for a litre of unleaded was £1.16 at the time of the referendum. As of October 2019, the average was £1.27. That’s a jump in price of 9.2 percent.

For a 55-litre fuel tank, that’s an increase of £6.05. Diesel and super unleaded are up 11.1 percent and 11.6 percent respectively over the same period.

Drivers should be angry about small fuel price drops say the RAC

“Since the Brexit referendum was held three and a half years ago, there has been a gradual but very tangible increase in the cost of running a car,” said James Buttrick of Vantage Leasing.

“With so much uncertainty around the details of the UK’s departure from the EU, the automotive industry has found itself one of the worst affected. It’s hard to see that getting any better for the industry or the motoring consumer as we finally head towards Brexit.”

Jaguar Land Rover buys Bowler

Jaguar Land Rover has bought off-road specialists Bowler

Jaguar Land Rover buys Bowler

Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed that it has acquired all-terrain performance experts, Bowler. 

The Derbyshire-based firm is now completely owned by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), and will form part of its Special Vehicle Operations division.

Originally founded in 1985 by the late Drew Bowler, the company has been responsible for producing extreme off-road competition vehicles. 

Powered by Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover buys Bowler

The two companies had previously formed a formal brand agreement in 2012, adding “Powered by Land Rover” branding to the Bowler EXR rally car. Bowler has solely used Land Rover powertrains to produce its bespoke off-roaders. 

Between 2014 and 2016, Bowler was responsible for running the Defender Challenger competition. This saw teams making use of specially prepared Land Rover Defenders in UK-based rallies, with the aim of readying them for the legendary Dakar Rally. 

The unexpected death of founder Drew Bowler in 2016 shocked the company, but other members of the family have helped the business continue.

A key step in strategy 

Jaguar Land Rover buys Bowler

Despite the purchase of Bowler, JLR has stated that the company will continue to operate as normal from its headquarters in Belper. 

Michael van der Sande, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations confirmed that the “immediate focus is on ensuring continuity of support for Bowler employees and customers during this transition to Jaguar Land Rover”.

Exact details on what JLR plans for Bowler are yet to be confirmed, van der Sande added that the acquisition is “a key step in our strategy to create an exciting and diverse portfolio of products and businesses within Special Vehicle Operations”.

The motorsport expertise of Bowler could be a precursor to JLR formally entering the Land Rover brand into off-road competition. 

“I am a driving God!”

Jaguar Land Rover buys Bowler

Bowler is perhaps best known to the general public for inspiring one of Richard Hammond’s most infamous Top Gear quotes. 

During the second series of the revised format, Hammond drove a V8-powered Bowler Wildcat, leading him to exclaim that he was “a driving God”. Despite the mockery from Jeremy Clarkson and James May, the feature did highlight the incredible abilities of Bowler products.

More recent highlights for Bowler have included winning both the British Baja National Championship, and the French Baja, in 2006. Last year saw Bowler entrants claim first, second and fourth positions overall on the fearsome Tuareg Rallye.