While in London a few weeks ago I was tipped off to a motor show taking place in the city by Chris, who I was staying with. Lured in by the phrases “tons of cars” and “some really nice one’s too”, I hopped the tube for a look. And what I discovered was not so much a motor expo, but a whole new concept I’d never considered before.
The expo was taking place at the bottom of the Canary Wharf Tower, where Chris works. And here’s the brilliant idea – traditional motor shows are going the way of the dodo – they’re expensive to put on, and the only people who bother to attend them are penniless anoraks like myself. So why not bring the show to the time poor people who actually want to buy these cars? Such a simple concept, and the canary wharf motor expo showed how it can be executed perfectly.
… to the more refined of sporting cars, it was all there and was filled with guys in suits who were no doubt planning on earmarking their afternoon to deciding how to theoretically best spend the money they were currently earning.
Enter the Bowler EXR-S. As fast as a Ferrari F430 on a straight stretch of tarmac, and significantly faster than one off it, I asked the Bowler rep who actually buys these cars. “Cashed up lunatics mostly. They’ll own a Ferrari or an Aston, but they want something to have fun with in winter”. Given the English weather, I can’t argue with the logic.
It really is the Porsche GT3 of the off road. Whilst it bears resemblance to a Range Rover Sport, it’s a completely bespoke, hand made performance car underneath just using the base engine and a few trim bits like lights, door handles and dash.
And as I walked back to the tube, I had something in common with all those office workers. I too was engaging in some escapism, of which the Bowler was mighty tempting. But in the end, my particular form of freedom would no doubt come from the little hamlet of Hethel.
Words and photos by Andrew Coles