When Defenders were pulled from the market four years ago, it marked the end of a 67-year history of making some of the most iconic off-roading vehicles out there. The Defender is so popular as an option for off-roading vehicles that there is any number of customisers out there that are hunting down and then turning out their own versions of a restored and modified Defender. Few of those companies, however, rival Great Britain based Twisted Automotive. The garage takes old Defenders, strips them down, and then rebuilds them into amazing vehicles.
“At Twisted, we are incredibly passionate about the Defender,” says Charles Fawcett, the founder and managing director for Twisted Automotive. “We appreciate its heritage and purpose. There were always lots of shortcomings and we try to address them in a complementary manner to produce a better Defender.” One of the ways that Twisted is addressing those shortcomings is by offering a V8 for the Defender. The General Motors 6.2-litre eight-cylinder petrol engine is a part of Twisted’s move to open up US headquarters in South Boston, Virginia. The new engine comes with 454 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque, all channelled into an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The company’s Stage One builds all came out of JLR in January 2016, so they are some of the very last to have ever come out of the factory.
But it’s not just the engine that Twisted addresses. “We believe out Defenders do a better job than the original ones,” explains Fawcett. “We make the handling better and improve the comfort; it does a better job than it did originally and we keep true to the heritage. Other Defender restorers can pimp and bling, but not us.” Twisted improves the handling, steering, and braking of the Defenders while also updating the seating, sealing, and rust protection. The Stage One versions feature black grainy leather with black stitching and come in Welsh Grey with a canvas hood. You’ll pay a bit to get one of these beasts–USD$250,00—but what you’ll get more than makes up for the cost.