Loyal Defender

‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. An adage that you could apply to many things in this world, but none more than an item as steeped in heritage and tradition as Land Rover’s Defender – or so you would think.

As old as the hills themselves, this iconic vehicle is woven into the very fabric of our country. For decades we have farmed in them, taken the family out in them, and when the mood takes us, we’ve occasionally invaded in them. From its birth as the Series 1 in 1948, through to what we know as the Defender, Land Rover’s trusty workhorse has changed very little. Well, you might say, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Sorry, you’re wrong.

In 2013, after your local Land Rover dealer has cashed your cheque for £32,995 for a top of the range Defender and you drive merrily off down the road, you will notice several things: all of the trim will fall off, you won’t be able to hear the radio on the motorway (although you may just be able make out your passengers complaining about the wind-up windows in the back), the headlining will fall down, and it will let enough water into the cabin to make a log flume blush. This will all be in the first ten miles. If you think that this is ‘character’ that lends it a quirky air, then you probably have a mullet and think it looks nice.

However, help is at hand, in the shape of a company based in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, called Twisted Performance. They take a Defender and make it into something truly special. The first thing they do is disassemble it. And then re-assemble it – properly. This includes extensive sound proofing and a refitted bespoke interior trimmed to supercar standards. Handling is taken care of by progressive springs, specially developed Bilstein shock absorbers and thick anti-roll bars. Alcon brakes bring it to a controlled stop and an ECU re-map will allow an effortless 80mph cruise and a boost in torque.

The cars have a high-end, manufactured feel to them – a far cry from many of their competitors who just tack on pieces of plastic and label them as special editions. The Undersparrows of this world aside, Twisted offer a viable option for people who wish to use their Defenders on a daily basis and experience the comfort of a luxury vehicle in the process.

In their pursuit of perfection, they haven’t diluted this British icon. Everything has been carefully considered before, during and after application, and the result is a truly cohesive feel that complements the Defender’s lovable qualities.

Oliver Smith

Smith is our Automotive Editor. Having worked with some of the world’s finest British sports cars he is a keen historic racer and enjoys in his own words ‘the evolution of engineering’ in modern machinery.

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