“Twisted just happened, it wasn’t necessarily intended but it was always on the cards.”
Land Rover enthusiast and Twisted Automotive founder, Charles Fawcett conveys passion and excitement for the past, present and future of this hugely successful Yorkshire business.
Charles was born in Harrogate but spent his primitive years touring the market towns of Richmond, Bedale, Masham, Northallerton, Thirsk and Ripon. He went to school in Northallerton and for the most part of his childhood he settled in Warlaby.
Four-wheel drives have always intrigued Charles, from a young age the Yorkshireman would draw off-roaders motoring up hills and, as time progressed, the wheels got bigger and the hills got steeper. At the age of eight, he had his first car, a Renault 4, which he would use to roam around the farm he lived on. As his mother was sent to and from the petrol station for a gallon of fuel, Charles’ passion for cars stepped up a gear.
Charles had his first Land Rover at the age of 11, a Series 3 pickup which occasionally would need work. However, it’s always been about performance, Charles explains about the company Twisted is today, “We are not pimping or blinging, this is engineering”.
2001 marked the beginning of this love affair.
Before Twisted, Charles worked for his father running an off-road driving school, this is where the need for power was prominent, more power is essential in off-road race competitions, “when you start on the path of looking for extra power in an engine, it’s almost like a drug. It takes over, you’re constantly trying to eek every last bit out”. This driving desire, ingrained in the man, is what became of Twisted, the company.
Charles started working on Twisted as a side project before it became a full-time operation in 2008, after a handful of years focusing on tuning and performance enhancement across the whole of Land Rover’s portfolio of vehicles. In 2009 Twisted became fully focused on Defender alone. Working solely on Defender, knowing the vehicle inside and out, right down to its DNA is the key to success when it comes to making this classic vehicle, better than it has ever been.
“We’ve lost a lot of the true four-wheel drives, what we still have is Defender, it’s very English and very iconic, the natural vehicle to work on.”
Instinctively, Twisted started out with performance upgrades, something Charles had been doing for years at this point. Yet to grow the business it was important to move on to suspensions, braking and then the interior luxuries; seating, sound proofing and the bringing of all this together, “the integration process”.
Hundreds of man hours are spent on each Twisted that leaves the workshop. The company doesn’t claim to be a “high-volume” business, the vehicles are made to order and each one purpose built. Charles jests, “we’re a group of extremely passionate people, in a shed, in Yorkshire” and it is just that, but much more! With just a small team the end product is quite something, each one displaying a small ‘Yorkshire, England’ plaque on the back.
In less than 10 years, Twisted vehicles are seen all over the world, the brand has travelled and has become known to huge global figures. That morning, Charles recounted he had received a message from “someone called Dario…”, as in, Dario Franchitti, retired British IndyCar driver and 3-time Indy 500 champion. The morning before, the King of Malaysia. Nonchalantly he says, “Land Rover is bringing these people together”.
67 years after the first Series I was built, Land Rover ended the production of Defender in January 2016. Being that Defender is Twisted and Twisted is Defender, to many it was thought this could have affected Charles and his team, however he doesn’t seem worried about the future. In fact, quite the opposite. When news first hit that Land Rover would cease production Charles confessed “when we knew they were going to stop building them, we ordered from one dealer, 240 Defender.
“That was the most exciting time”.
With years yet in the current stock Twisted have, Charles sees a bright, onward and upward future for the business and is most content continuing this work in Yorkshire, “Twisted will keep doing what it is doing”. Plans to become a restoration company in the future dwell on Charles’ mind, however he is fully aware the business will alter in the future but with every change, comes opportunity.
For more information about Twisted Automotive visit the website: http://twistedautomotive.com/