26/01/2012 Land Rover Defender Special Editions by Twisted Performance
UK-based Land Rover specialist Twisted Performance claims to offer the perfect remedies for the increasingly apparent ailments of the elderly Defender – so Classic Driver takes a look at its trio of special edition models to find out whether it’s worth waiting for Land Rover’s 2015 replacement or not.
The enduring Defender is over sixty years old now, which begs the question: why now? Well, Twisted Performance has in fact been producing Defender upgrades for many years, but the company is now held in such high esteem in Land Rover enthusiast circles that it has sufficient demand to gather together numerous modifications into its own special edition vehicle packages. Currently, there are a trio of special editions: Alpine, French and Retro, all of which can be specified in Classic or Sport guise. And what’s more, both 90 and 110 models can be supplied as brand-new vehicles, or transformed by undergoing retro-fitted conversions.
Classic and Sport Specifications
While all three editions have their own individual differences between the Sport and Classic specifications, some enhancements are common across the trio. These include a suspension upgrade for the Sport models (the Classics are given gas B6 dampers), which are also bestowed with AP Racing brakes. All special editions get a front and rear white light kit and a halogen crystal headlight upgrade, as well as a P10+ Performance Kit (adding between 30 and 90HP depending on the donor vehicle), interior leather retrim, and privacy glass from the B-pillar aft. Sport versions are also furnished with leather Recaro sports seats.
The Retro Edition – from £42,510
Those with a love of classic cars will quickly warm to the Retro Edition: designed in homage to Land Rover’s heritage, it’s intended to show how far the Defender has come in its 64-year lifetime. Among the highlights are Sand colour body paint, and a Gloss White powder coat for the roof, mirrors, steering guard, headlamp surrounds, side vents, and five-spoke 18-inch rims. The Sport version specifies Toyo road tyres in place of BFG off-road rubber, as well as Alcantara trappings inside to supplement the Classic’s leather retrim. Both versions also have a polished wood steering wheel.
The French Edition – from £38,902.80
The French Edition is designed for life in the city, providing a stylish alternative to the ten-a-penny crossovers that claim to offer individuality, but do the exact opposite in practice. A Gloss Black coating for the grille, mirrors, bumpers, steering guard, chequer plates and alloys give the off-roader a mean and purposeful look, while the daytime running lights embedded into the bumper are included in both Classic and Sport specifications. Inside, a Black Nappa leather interior offers the sort of luxury usually only associated with a modern Range Rover, and a Momo steering wheel completes the overhaul.
The Alpine Edition – from £40,855.20
Billed as a stylish family cruiser with the ability to go anywhere, the Alpine uses a Gloss White theme for its trimmings (including the alloy roof rack and ladder only included in this edition); however the 20-inch wheels and DRL-housing bumper are painted in Gloss Black, presumably to prevent you losing your car in a blizzard. Again, Black Nappa leather and a Momo steering wheel are present inside. Is it time to trade in the Range Sport for something a little more select?
While we haven’t yet tried out the special editions for ourselves (expect that in the not-too-distant future), we’re already suitably impressed by the triumvirate's lengthy list of modernisations. The company’s experience in Land Rovers is evident, proven not only by the quality of the vehicles shown here, but by the fact that in 2009, the Twisted team held off various other respected Land Rover tuners to take the title of ‘World’s Fastest Land Rover’ – despite a self-imposed constraint of only using parts developed in-house.
But a replacement is on the horizon (due in 2015), so is it too little, too late, for the senior Defender? In a word, no. Classic Land Rovers are as popular as ever, and despite a new headquarters, Twisted Performance is struggling to keep up with demand for its services. The new model may be looming, but perhaps this will only increase Twisted’s workload; after all, with 75% of the Defenders ever made still in use, perhaps the arrival of the successor will only spur on existing owners to give their ageing workhorses a new lease of life? Especially when it means you can have modern Range Rover comfort and performance in a shape as iconic as the Defender.