Supermarket opening times in Yorkshire: Are Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, ALDI, Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Iceland, Lidl and Waitrose in Yorkshire closed on Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral?
Residents slam plans for new Co-Op on car park of vacant pub
Charles grew up around cars.
His father was in the automotive sales and repair business and expected his son to follow in his footsteps from a very young age.
“I think I was about eight when father came home in a little Suzuki 55 pick-up,” Charles explains.
“He parked it in the yard and said, ‘When I’ve finished my tea, I expect you to be driving that!’
“He just left me the keys and told me to get on with it.
“Well, I sat there for half an hour and fiddled with things.
“I’d been changing gear for him since I was about three but to piece all these things together was a little bit of a challenge!
“He came out after he’d had his tea and said, ‘Right we’re off.’
“He sat in the passenger seat and showed me what to do.
“Well, that was it. I was off and driving at every opportunity.”
It was extremely clear that Charles was set on a career path rather than an educational path.
“I tried college, but it wasn’t for me,” he remembers.
“During my A Levels I was too busy driving around in my spare periods, so I came out of education and got a job.
“I remember finishing education on the Friday and 7am on the Saturday dad told me I had a job.
“In essence I just used to drive for him – pick things up, drop things off, move things around, paint a few things, repair a few things, and quite often drive off to see a young lady when I should have been working!”
In the late 1990s, Charles’ dad set up an off-road driving school near Thirsk – training individuals, corporates, and utilities to drive Land Rovers off road.
With the vehicles getting so much wear and tear, a lot of the pair’s time was spent repairing the vehicles.
During this time, Charles took part in off-road driving competitions and soon realised that to do well the vehicles needed more power than the standard models had.
And so, he started sourcing products to enhance the basic vehicles – and Twisted Automotive was born in 2000 as a side operation to the driving school.
At first the company offered tuning and performance enhancements for the then range of Land Rover 200/300tdi, Defender Discovery and Range Rover.
But, by 2008, the demand for expert advice and quality modification had grown and Twisted Automotive became a full-time business – the following year deciding to focus solely on the iconic Land Rover Defender.
Charles says: “There was clearly a demand for a vehicle which looked, felt, and drove like a Defender but better.
“We filled a gap in the market as no one else was doing it.”
“Our customers would challenge us saying you’ve done this, but can you do that; can you take this and put it that way round; or we’d like it to have a bit more of this or a bit more of that and do this in a certain environment.
“It became a constant product development company. We were always making new stuff and trying to find ways to improve this vehicle. With hindsight, we probably went a bit far at times, but we gradually found our space. And our space is to take what’s fundamentally an agricultural vehicle maintain all the characters – I call them the ‘Defenderisms’ – but iron out the creases and make this thing just a nicer place to be but without it being obvious at all.”
There’s no doubt that Charles is extremely passionate about the business and proud of what he and his team have developed.
He explains: “It’s been a challenging 20 years, but the business is still very good at doing what it does well. We still haven’t got any competition. There’s no one else doing what we do. There are plenty of places where you can take a Land Rover Discovery and ask them to make it look different.
“Yes, they’ll get a whole range of different parts and bolt them on, but the fact remains none of the parts are honed or made to go together.
“With our vehicles, we think about everything. We don’t overlook anything.
“Hundreds of hours go into each build, but thousands of hours go into developing things for the build.”
Just this week Twisted Automotive has lifted the covers off 16 vehicles that have been barn-stored since coming off the production line six years ago and is inviting people to reserve the last of a generation.
Charles says: “These 16 110s were hand-picked for their chassis numbers and build dates.
“They were all registered in 2016 – after production ceased – identifying them among the last off the line and, arguably, more collectable.
“They’re special, and when modified, each one will be the only one.
“All 16 will be modified, but exactly how depends on the lifestyle and tastes of the individual customer.
“Our way isn’t to tell people what their Defender should be; its to work with them to create a Defender thats the best fit for them.”
Build slots are open for delivery in 2023 – 40 years after the launch of the original One Ten.
Twisted’s One of One Defenders are available to reserve, starting from £135,000 + VAT for the 2.2 TTD Utility Wagon in the UK.
So, what does the future hold for the business?
Charles concludes: “Its time we look at something else apart from Defenders but I’m very cautious.
“There are lots of very cool analogue vehicles out there that I’d like to do something with.
“The team have come with some great ideas over the last three or four months of things they think we could be doing.”
Customer enquiries can be made via www.twisted.co.uk or [email protected] or 01845 574 990.