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Automotive Industries Interview w/ Paul Kilvington, Head of Bespoke Design, Twisted North America

UK-based Twisted Automotive’s mission is a unique one – to take the iconic Land Rover Defender and re-engineer it to be the very best vehicle it can be. When production of the vehicle ceased in 2016, it became an instant classic and Twisted says it enhances that legendary status. The recently launched North America division builds on that heritage to an even higher degree. “Twisted’s exclusive 4x4s are taking the world by storm with an unrivalled combination of proprietary engineering, fashion-worthy custom design, performance prowess and an unmistakably striking presence on and off the road. Twisted has a strong history of taking the iconic Land Rover® Defender® to new realms, with more than 20 years of experience re-engineering the British marque. Founded in the United Kingdom, the company is entering the North American market with a line-up of obsessively designed vehicles featuring prestige factor, head-turning visuals, bespoke elements and explosive performance. Options include a 650+ horsepower ICE engine and an upcoming all-electric model,” says the company.

An exciting development is the EV version of the Defender which has a clean and robust drivetrain, exclusive direct drive power system and US-assembled electric motor which makes the vehicle almost completely silent. According to the company, the Twisted EV Drivetrain system is the classic Twisted blend of on-road and off-road performance. The vehicle retains its off-road ability with its 4WD and high/low range. Twisted has spent almost 20 years making the Defender© as good as it can possibly be. The clean and robust EV drivetrain, exclusive direct drive power system and specially engineered electric motor aims to meet exacting customer expectations.

“Our fully electric offering joins our V8 petrol upgrade in making your Defender ULEZ compliant, while our LS-powered petrol offering is guaranteed to put a smile on your face from ear to ear. Again, we have two options should petrol be the way forward.,” says the company.

Over the years, continued product development and exceptionally high engineering standards have produced a range of Twisted specific components that make the iconic vehicles Twisted works with the best component manufacturers in the world to create Twisted-specific elements.

According to Twisted founder, Charles R Fawcett, the intention for 2021, is to concentrate on re-engineering fewer vehicles, with an emphasis on creating only the very highest-specification cars.

In the UK specifically, Twisted Automotive had unveiled a new 8,500 sq ft showroom in a converted cinema today – five years to the day that Jaguar Land Rover ceased production of the Defender. Fawcett bought the historic Gaiety Cinema in Long Street, Thirsk, last year and has spent the past seven months converting it into a modern showroom with a coffee bar and events space. The original cinema screen has been replicated, with the aim of hosting exclusive, motoring themed functions when Covid restrictions allow. Twisted’s existing headquarters at Sussex Court on the outskirts of the town will be retained as a workshop facility, with sales, marketing and reception staff transferring to the new showroom.

“Integral to this is the launch of the showroom in tandem with significant investment in the Thirsk factory, adding more ramps and growing Twisted’s team of technicians. The showroom will be home to around 25 vehicles, including a number of the 61 remaining from the batch of 240 last of the line Defender that Twisted bought back in January 2016. The building itself dates back to July 1914, when it opened as the Gaiety Cinema on Long Street. It was badly damaged by fire in 1930 – in allegedly suspicious circumstances – and was later acquired by a tyre fitting company,” said Fawcett.

Another major development for Twisted was the hiring of world-class designer Paul Kilvington, the brand master behind the launch of Range Rover in North America, as Head of Bespoke Design for its North American division. With 20 years of experience in bespoke design ranging from luxury vehicles to yachts, Kilvington will create magic for Twisted’s customers, incorporating everyday driving and comfortability with high-end finishes and custom designs to create a vehicle he describes as “The realisation of our clients’ dreams and aspirations.”

Tom Maxwell, chairman and CEO of Twisted Automotive, North America said in a company statement: “We are further elevating the British automotive luxury image and aura, signaled by some of our new faces having been part of the original introduction of names like Range Rover into the North American psyche. I’m truly excited about the influx of talent as we accelerate our operations here and worldwide, highlighted by prominent entertainment personalities and clients already celebrating the Twisted brand in these early stages.

“Kilvington will use his more than 25 years of design history across the automotive, luxury and marine worlds – including world-renowned work for Land Rover/Range Rover, Triumph motorcycles and numerous others – to create personalized, exclusive and hand-built Twisted vehicles for clients who want to make a bold, yet understated statement and stand out in a sea of European SUV monotony,” added Maxwell.

Automotive Industries spoke to Paul Kilvington, Head of Bespoke Design, Twisted North America.

AI: What made working with Twisted North America an attractive proposition to you?

PK: In my mind, a hand-built Twisted vehicle is really quite special. There’s no other vehicle like it. Twisted vehicles should never be confused with a ‘restomod’ – as they’re completely re-engineered – from the bolts up – to be modern, thrilling, practical and comfortable machines that express the individual personalities of every customer. They’re authentically Defender, yet completely new. Head-turning yet designed around usability. I’m looking forward to working personally with every single client to create a truly unique, individual supreme vehicle.

AI: What makes a Twisted so different?

PK: “Twisted is about taking an existing vehicle, in this case the iconic Land Rover Defender and turning it into something rather special. But it is also so much more than even that. Twisted is a mindset. It’s about following a set of principles and applying them through technology and engineering, to extract the very best out of the Defender platform.

It’s through these binary methods, that we are able to deliver a truly unique, totally emotive driving experience. From steering to road wheel, valve seat to driver’s seat, every aspect has been fully thought through and re-engineered to deliver a communicative and responsive drive. Finding traction beyond the possible. Creating performance beyond expectations.”

AI: What does the Bespoke team actually do?

PK: “We fundamentally re-imagine the design aesthetic, whilst retaining the integrity and authenticity of the Defender’s rugged good looks. That doesn’t mean that all

Twisted vehicles look the same. Quite the opposite. Each one is the realisation of an individual client’s imagination. Our Bespoke Design team works with every client, fully understanding specific lifestyle requirements, personal taste and style. And that doesn’t just mean an infinite choice of paint colour or an exhaustive range of upholstery options. Every detail is explored and selected from the client’s perspective, often including specially created, hand crafted elements.”

AI: What makes the electric Defender from Twisted special?

PK:  The all-new Twisted NA-V8 and electric NAS-E vehicles are born from the timeless Land Rover® Defender® legend, featuring an unrivalled combination of proprietary and precision engineering, timeless custom design, performance prowess and an unmistakably striking presence on and off the road. Most importantly we use modular components, rather than repurposed items, so vehicles are largely future proofed.

AI: What are some of the other developments at Twisted?

PK: “We’re welcoming some of the best of the best from across the luxury automotive world and beyond to the Twisted North America team – reflecting our explosive growth and momentum as the Twisted brand continues to establish itself as an exclusive, aspirational marque. Joining the team are award-winning luxury product designer Darren Jones, head of technical design (previous design clientele includes Jaguar, Land Rover and Vacheron Constantin); Louis Fernandez, a financial executive with more than 30 years of experience, as chief financial officer (experience includes BP, Fluor, and Stallion Oilfield Services); and Wayne York Kung, a seasoned automobile industry executive with experience at Land Rover, Jaguar, and Rolls-Royce, as project manager.”

“In terms of bespoke build, we’re working on some very special vehicles for some very special clients. These range from a showcase EV for a global environment conference to an integrated, secret personalised board game and the subtlety branded incorporation of a lucky number! I can foresee some very distinctive Twisted vehicles appearing in some choice U.S. locations over the next few months. As clients explore their imaginations and we make things possible.”

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Sat. July 20th, 2024

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