Street version of extreme off-roader rolls off the production line
The first street version of the extreme off-roader made famous by Top Gear rolled off the UK production line this month – and was shipped straight to Uganda.
The virtually indestructible Wildcat 300STR had been ordered by a customer keen to make an impression at his local golf club.
As well as the usual Wildcat features – V8 petrol engine, fully welded tubular chassis, heavy duty differentials and drive shafts – the first production 300STR added air conditioning, Bluetooth, iPod dock, stereo hi-fi and enough space in the rear for a set of clubs.
That particular Wildcat may be winding its way to East Africa, but it is now the template for a fully fledged road-going version of the Dakar Rally veteran.
The 300STR now sits at the entry level of the Wildcat brand, beneath the competition prepped 400NSR and 500DKR.
Qt Services, the company who acquired the rights to the car from Bowler Offroad in 2007, have ensured the new model is ready for the road by embarking on an intensive development programme for the Wildcat.
Originally powered by the venerable Rover V8 engine, the car can now be specified with an all-new Jaguar V8 lump which promises to improve on the Wildcat's already epic performance figures over all surfaces.
There is even the promise of greater economy in the pipeline – Qt Services are in the process of shoehorning a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine from the Land Rover Discovery into the car.
A fresh choice of engines is complemented by a new six-speed sequential gearbox, quick ratio steering and even upgraded 60mm lithium fast rebound dampers.
Qt Services believes the secret to the Wildcat's success off-road – the poise, control and comfort of that lightweight tubular chassis – could guarantee a successful following amongst buyers who'd prefer to stay on the tarmac.