Tomcat Motorsport Ltd was formed in April 2001 by Paul Williamson and Steve Wells following the purchase of the rights for the Tomcat from Drew Bowler.
The Tomcat was originally designed by Drew Bowler as an 88 inch wheelbase vehicle for Association of Land Rover Clubs (ARC) events. The Bowler, as it was named then, was an affordable and competitive answer to many people’s requirements. The Tomcat name came about when Drew decided to form the Bowler Off-Road brand. This meant that he needed to distinguish between his original vehicle, which utilised a Range Rover chassis, and his next development of a tubular chassis based racer. The later vehicle was named the Bowler Wildcat and the earlier one became the Bowler Tomcat, however both vehicle types still shared the same skeleton frame design. At this time there were only two wheelbase lengths available with 88” and 100”, although a handful of 80” Bowler Tomcats had been built as one offs. Paul started his career as a vehicle technician in a Land Rover dealership also gaining experience working for other manufacturer’s franchises. His advancement continued, rapidly progressing through chief technician and workshop controller before becoming Northern Area Technical Field Engineer for a major Japanese 4x4 manufacturer. Outside of work Paul sustained a long and successful competitive interest in trials, comp safari and hill rallies.
Steve was also well know in the off-road fraternity, as both a competitor at club level and as an active organiser of major British off-road events. He also pursued a career as a motorsport journalist.
When the opportunity arose to purchase the rights to produce the Tomcat, Paul and Steve were ideally qualified. They formed Tomcat Motorsport with the intention of taking Drew’s original concept further than ever before, while still retaining its clubman appeal and support for the UK off-road scene.
The production and servicing of all Tomcats and Wildcat 100’s moved to Paul’s premises in Skellingthorpe near Lincoln. Production commenced straight away under Paul’s supervision together with a marketing drive arranged by Steve. Two new models were immediately developed and added to the line-up in the shape of the 93 and 106. The 80 was also brought into full production, expanding the range to 5 distinct vehicles.
In 2003 Steve and Paul, together with a third partner, Ian Frame, bought a company to produce their own fibreglass bodywork. This, until then, had been subcontracted out. With Ian’s vast experience in the field, Paul and Steve were able to improve and develop the bodywork, which now includes many more panels than before. This development continues constantly. In 2004 metallic gel coat was offered for the first time, this has proved to be a very popular option.
During 2004 Tomcat Motorsport needed to move to a new workshop, which tripled the available floor space and allowed for new developments, higher efficiency and productivity. This enabled the company to invest in more equipment and to expand their activities into other areas, including: the development of accessories and suspension systems for other Land Rover based or produced vehicles, general 4x4 repair and servicing including the preparation and service of competition vehicles. A small parts department was also established, initially to provide the necessary parts for the internal workshop and vehicle builds but this now also supplies a growing number of local retail customers and some trade outlets.
In 2005 Paul Williamson became sole owner of Tomcat Motorsport when Steve Wells moved to explore new opportunities and also return to his journalistic roots.
Tomcat Motorsport designed its first tubular chassis with integrated skeleton space frame in 2007 and continues to investigate new innovations in race vehicle design.
2011 sees the launch of a new skeleton frame which is designed to comply with FIA regulations. This skeleton will still be fitted to an original Land Rover type chassis but will be of a stronger, improved design which is homologated for FIA sanctioned events. This results in a more attractive package for overseas and UK customers who want or require the extra safety and performance.
Numerous overseas orders have seen Tomcats exported throughout the world. Destinations include: Australia, the USA, Kenya, Zambia and many European countries. A number of business partnerships have been formed with foreign companies that have seen the quality and potential of the Tomcat vehicles and wish to be associated with the Tomcat brand. Tomcat Motorsport have appointed these companies as agents for the sale and support of the Tomcat vehicles and kits in their respective areas. Some of the areas covered by agents include: France, Africa and Iceland. This expansion of the Tomcat network is continuing with three prospective new agents in discussion in 2011.