Perhaps one of the more famous brands of the specialty
racing vehicle world, Bowler has well-deserved respect from all over the world.
And that is not only because it was featured multiple times on Top Gear. These
guys are making vehicles for one of the most
grueling motorsport categories in the world – Rally Raid. This isn’t
a let-get-a-lap-time sort of enterprise. Rally Raid involves racing for days
completely off road, on terrain that an unprepared vehicle (and driver for that
matter) could meet its demise. The distance that these competition vehicles
need to travel can be thousands of miles, and it needs to do it at high speed,
under scorching sun, without an inch to tarmac to ease the journey. Think of it
this way – take a regular off-roader, modify it until it meets military
specification standards, and then modify it and reinforce it some more. The
durability and reliability of these machines is exceptional, and the fact that
this company has victories recorded as early as 1984 means that the engineering
acumen is among the best in the world. Their current offering, the Bowler
Bulldog, is based on the equally legendary 3rd generation Land Rover Defender.
Available to buy, it won’t be anywhere near affordable, as the prices for a
mean-specced Bulldog will be well within triple digits.
Radical Sports Cars
So far the vehicles on this list had the luxury of a roof. But Britain has a long, odd love affair with open-tops despite the generally unfavourable weather. Open-top motorsport is no exception to this. If you are one of those enthusiasts that prefer to look at the road or track through a helmet visor rather than a windshield, then Radical Sports Cars will have most of its lineup suitable for you. With a total of eight cars in their range, only two are road legal. The performance of these machines, especially in terms of 0-60 times will make some hypercars nervous, especially given that they achieve those sub-3-second results with about half the horsepower. That’s because for lightweight vehicles like this, what matters is horsepower per tonne, which is something Radical are keen to advertise. Top speeds may not be impressive, but these cars will be driven on tracks, not autobahns. And on the track, quick acceleration matters far more. Radical certainly knows that matters on the track, with vehicles that are precision machines that deliver a visceral experience that few can rival without going into Formula 1 territory. They also hold their own racing competitions internationally, and offer support packages if the buyer wants to race their vehicles on a pro level. For those who want the thrill, but without the track, Radical has the Rapture – a perfectly road legal track car that doesn’t go soft. With 360 horsepower inside a vehicle weighing just 765kg, you’re unlikely to get an experience more visceral anywhere else. Drive the Rapture on a country road, and you’ll realise just how nannied regular road cars are by their electronics.