The old adage about Alfa Romeos and ‘true petrolheads’ doesn’t ring true for our road tester, but he does see sense in Twisted’s business strategy
I’ve read over the years that you can’t really say you’re into cars if you don’t like motor shows. That you don’t really like cars if you don’t like motor racing. Or that you’re no car enthusiast until you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo.
And so, by that reckoning, if you don’t really like large warehouses, are busy at weekends and have owned a few nice sports cars like a Porsche 911 and a Caterham, then I’m sorry old friend, you’re just not one of us.
Which is daft, right? These people must know it when they say it or write it. There are 60-odd million of us in Britain and yet you’ll know if you’ve tried to enjoy a car near most of them that they don’t like it: you’re too flashy, you’re too noisy, you’re too fast, you’re too dirty, you’re cluttering up the street with your rusty old spudder.
And yet most adults have a car. There are more than 31 million cars on Britain’s roads, and some 45 million of us have a driving licence, so are presumably not averse on principle to the idea of travelling by car.
People drive a lot: on average, each of those 31 million cars travels over 8200 miles a year. The average speed of them isn’t much more than 30mph, which means drivers on average spend 250 hours a year in a car.
I don’t think there’s anything else I spend 250 hours a year doing that I wouldn’t consider myself pretty good at by now. There is a hive of people who spend a large portion of their waking days absorbed by cars and driving, and people want to tell them they don’t really like cars because they’ve never bought an Italian one?
I don’t buy it. I don’t really care how you enjoy cars, I don’t care if you enjoy driving only because it lets you listen to a podcast and pick your nose. So long as you get the tiniest piece of enjoyment out of being behind the wheel, congratulations, or perhaps sorry, you are somebody who likes cars.
Twisted: method in the madness
Fun to read my colleague Ricky Lane’s verdict on the latest Twisted Defender a few weeks ago. I like Land Rover Defenders despite their limitations and I like what Twisted does with them. And, yes, I know they’re expensive, but a lot of hours go into them and, at any price, a Defender is not exactly a rational purchase.
Twisted’s decision to buy some, though, was a bit more rational: it spent £7.5 million stockpiling 240 of them before the car went out of production in January 2016, and it has 80 left.
It’s divvying those up into two different series, dubbed ‘Make History’ and ‘Remake History’. The Remake ones, 44 of them, will be modified in a way that “pays homage to the history of the original”, including inspiration from early Series Land Rovers. They go into ‘production’, so to speak, on 29 January, three years to the day since series production stopped. And the remaining 36 Make History versions will go to existing customers with, presumably, ever more bonkers bespoke modifications.
And then you can still take an existing Defender to Twisted for mods. Irrational? Sure, but like I said above: who are we to judge?