“Hey, do you know where Charlie is?”. “I don’t, no, but he can’t be too far away. What do you need”. “I need someone to put gas in the truck, my credit card isn’t working”. I scanned the horizon of the Finnish race circuit but Charlie was possibly doing a few laps in the 500hp V8 110. “Let me see if I can find him Tony”. “Cool man”. This was the first of a handful of semi awkward exchanges I would have with Tony Hawk that week as we crossed from Finland into Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Austria and Monaco. “Charlie, glad I found you, Tony Hawk wants a quick word, seems he cant get his credit card to work and needs Diesel”. With that, Charlie raised his eyebrows, “lead the way”. I am not sure how much of what took place that week in 2013 is under NDA but as I don’t plan on publishing a memoir anytime soon, David Hasselhoff, Dizzee Rascal and the cast of MTV Brazil are all safe. For now.
It’s been 20 years since Charlie Fawcet turned Twisted automotive from a boyhood passion into the guardian of a British Icon. We sat down with Charlie at their new HQ, The Old Cinema, to hear what the brand has been upto.
Where did your passion for the Land Rover Defender originate?
Twisted was born from the passion of one man for this iconic British vehicle. The business was established in 2001, but founder Charles Fawcett’s love affair with the Defender started much earlier.
As a child, Fawcett was surrounded by Land Rover vehicles. His father had been involved in the sale and repairs of this rugged vehicle since the 1970s and ran a 4×4 off-road driving centre.
How did Twisted begin?
Joining the family business in 1995 and setting up the Twisted as a side operation in 2000, offering tuning and performance enhancements for the then range of Land Rover 200/300tdi Defender, Discovery and Range Rover. Growing demand for expert advice and modification. Growing the team and turnover to £10m.
What’s so special about the Defender?
Iconic design, its versatility and its role as a vehicle that is both relied upon by professionals and enjoyed by individuals. You could also touch on your experiences of growing up around the vehicle and the personal affinity you feel as a result. You could also mention how you felt when production ended. Starting out with half a desk dedicated to Twisted, then a garage, then moving
What’s been your biggest challenge / proudest moment so far?
Taking on JLR in a David and Goliath style courtroom battle – and winning.
What sets Twisted apart?
Iconic vehicle, the absolute best a Defender can be, luxurious and quirky. It’s not about the bling, it’s about what’s under the bonnet that counts.
What does the future hold?
Having sold the licences for Twisted EV, US and Middle East, we are now going to refocus on what we do best – we can’t be perfect but we can be brilliant. Going back to our roots, producing fewer vehicles
New showrooms – people can get close to these brilliant vehicles, grab a coffee, chat to the team, maybe even watch a movie.
Twisted Marine – aiming to do something similar with iconic power boats from a base in Devon.