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Land Rover Defender

A specialist Yorkshire vehicle engineering business whose customers include Jamie Oliver and royalty from around the world has secured a £2.3m finance facility from Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance.

Twisted Automotive specialises in re-engineering new and used Land Rover Defenders. Based in North Yorkshire, the 23-strong team both restore and build vehicles, most notably enhancing performance, handling and comfort aspects as well as aesthetic improvements. The Defenders are hand-crafted specifically to each customer's request, with models typically costing between £50,000 to £170,000.

Developed from the original Land Rover Series launched in 1948, the Defender was introduced to the market in 1983. The 33-year-old model is known for having the longest running production of any Land Rover vehicle, before ceasing production in January 2016.

Twisted Automotive has become known for its personal approach when creating specialist builds. All of Twisted's six engineers have the ability to complete every aspect of the process, from electrics and suspension to custom interiors.

As a result, every completed Defender is marked with the signature of the engineer who built the vehicle. This level of exclusivity and the quality of the engineering has played a part in attracting high profile customers.

Founded in 2000, Twisted initially ran as a side operation offering tuning and performance enhancements on a range of Land Rover models. With demand for precision engineering on the rise, the business has witnessed strong levels of growth in the last three years, with a current turnover of £8.25m.

To tackle the high demand and extended waiting list, the firm recently launched its Classic Series, which consists of donor vehicles that are built to a certain level of specification and are ready to purchase instantly. From the original 20 Classic vehicles produced, 19 have already sold, leading on to the creation of Series II.

The £2.3m funding package provided by Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance will be used to refinance the remainder of the 240 vehicles purchased from Jaguar Land Rover as part of the Defender's final production run. The new vehicles will support the growth of its Classic Series II.

Charles Fawcett, founder of Twisted Automotive, said: "My passion for the Defender derived from my father, who has been involved in the repair and restoration of the vehicles since the 1970's. The Defender has generated a strong cult following over its 33 years, with as many as 75 per cent still functional today.

"With time running out on production, in 2015 we spotted a unique opportunity to increase our inventory and introduce pre-built versions of our vehicles, which helped us tackle the long waiting list and boost our revenues. With this new financial strength, we can look at expanding overseas and ready ourselves for a potential launch of a new Defender model in 2019."

John Gribbon, Regional Director for Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance, said: "Twisted Automotive's business model is founded on igniting the passion of petrol heads around the world, restoring and upgrading one of the most iconic vehicles ever produced. This specialist knowledge means that its engineers know the vehicles like the back of their hands, building a long-lasting connection with their creations.

"With ambitions to expand overseas following the purchase of the last Defenders, we needed to create a flexible finance solution, which was competitive in pricing and easy to administer for the business. By working closely with the management team at Twisted, and understanding the needs of the company, we were able to create a package that satisfied their requirements. It is great to be backing a proud Yorkshire business as it expands nationwide."