QT Wildcat 500DKR - click above for high-res image gallery

Quite a long time ago, we told you about the Bowler "Race" Rovers. As it turns out, about 18 months ago, these Race Rovers (actually called Wildcats) were sold to another British company, QT Services. The Wildcats have been busy: aside from being sold to new owners, a Jaguar-engined 500DKR Wildcat placed third in Egypt's treacherous Pharaoh's Rally.

What's a Wildcat? You can think of them as an extreme crossover vehicle of sorts – specifically the least hardcore of the three model lineup, the 300STR. It's a crossover in the same way that a Porsche Cayenne is a crossover. Full of capability on both the street and the dirt. Though we would imagine that the Wildcat 300STR might be a touch more capable than the Porker...

All three Wildcats feature a lightweight, tubular spaceframe chassis with fiberglass bodies. The three models go up only in off-road prowess - in order they are the aforementioned 300STR, the medium duty 400NSR and the hardcore, Pharaoh's Rally running 500DKR. If you didn't guess, DKR is an abbreviation of "Dakar."

The 300STR is the street legal one of the bunch. As such, it's available with air conditioning, some form of audio system and even a place to stow your golf bag. Notice we didn't say "bags." The next level up 400NSR has been developed for smaller events like the
British Cross Country Championship or the French Tout Terrain series. It's not street legal, but it's not an out-and-out thug like the 500DKR, either.

Speaking of the 500DKR, it's the self-described "jewel" in QT's "crown." Whereas the less extreme Wildcats featured Rover's tired tried-and-true 4.0-liter V8, the 500DKR gets a previous-gen Jaguar petrol motor good for 285 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. Everything else on the 500 DKR has been "ruggedised" to the Nth degree. It also sounds like if you write a large enough check, QT will build you whatever you like. As they put it, "Options are available to make this car a serious contender for international honours." Indeed. Press release after the jump, high-res images below.

[Source: QT Services | Images: Richard Streeton]



Going live on the opening day of Autosport International, January 14th, the new Wildcat website (www.qtwildcat.co.uk) will be presenting the three model range, developed since Qt took over the manufacture of the Wildcat offroad brand.

The three new models start with the 300STR, which is a dual purpose, street legal competition car that Qt are offering with lifestyle and custom options such as air conditioning, hi-fi and even a golf club compartment.

Next up is the 400NSR, a contender for hill rally honours in national events such as the British Cross Country Championship or the French Tout Terrain series. A variety of engine and suspension options are available, depending on the level of competition required. Qt have built in considerable flexibility to the options, with the facility to cover from entry level to professional team status.

The jewel in the Qt crown, however, is the 500DKR, a full-blown rally raid machine, powered by the latest 4-litre Jaguar V8 petrol engine putting out in excess of 285bhp. Chassis, drivetrain and electronics are fully ruggedised to withstand the harshest raid conditions and options are available to make this car a serious contender for international honours. The first Qt-built Wildcat running with the Jaguar V8 was placed third in the recent gruelling Pharaons Rally held in Egypt's Western Desert.

Dave Marsh, boss of Qt is enthusiastic about the interest being shown in the reborn Wildcat: "It's been quite an adventure, taking this project on but with the improvements we have made in just about all departments – particularly the chassis dynamics, where the drivability has been improved no end – it looks like it's all beginning to pay off."

Full details of the range can be found at www.qtwildcat.co.uk and the cars – including Michel Visey's third placed Pharaons Rally version - can be seen on the Wildcat stand number 7150 at Autosport International at the NEC, Birmingham from January 14th to 17th inclusive. Celebrities being interviewed in the Live Action Arena will also have the pleasure of being chauffeured in by full competition prepared Wildcat.

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