Twisted Automotive is expanding its operations into North America, with two key appointments and a team of technicians working from facilities in Virginia.

North Yorkshire-based Twisted – a leading global authority on the Defender since the business was established in 2001 – will launch Twisted North America this month, with Twisted Middle East set to follow next year.

Twisted aims to be the go-to Defender modification specialist in the USA. The company was the first to incorporate an American engine, the LS3, into a UK Defender back in 2012.

The new business, based in a 40,000 sq ft facility in South Boston, has been three years in the making.

Work is currently underway on the first three vehicles, with orders invited from October followed by delivery in April 2020. Elements of modification will take place in Yorkshire with completion and vehicle handover carried out in the US.

All UK Twisted vehicle and specification options will be available in the US, including petrol V8 on a 90, 110 or 130 wheel base, with an LT engine. Prices will start at $250,000.

Twisted North America vehicles will be powered by a California-compliant V8 matched to an 8 Speed Automatic transmission. Every US Twisted will be built with drivetrain upgrades, high quality panels, central locking, electric windows and rear seat air conditioning.

In the future, a small batch of vehicles will be built each year on the new Twisted by LUCRA chassis, developed in California – giving Twisted a coast-to-coast presence. Developed to Baja race specifications, the chassis is powered by a 6.2L GM Gen V LT4 supercharged, direct injection engine with 650bhp and 650 ft-lb of torque. The platform also boasts 18 inches of suspension travel.

Overseeing operations in the US will be director Tom Maxwell, from York. A former business development director for an automotive firm, Tom has considerable experience in the US market, having led 60 staff and exporting around 250 Defender from the UK to North America in his previous role. He was instrumental in the company breaking into the US market and establishing a presence there.

Also joining the team is senior technician Ryan Dimery-Seek, who has 12 years’ experience restoring and rebuilding vehicles for the US market. Both will divide their time between Twisted’s North Yorkshire HQ and Virginia.

Twisted founder and managing director Charles Fawcett said: “North America has been part of our plans for a number of years as demand there for the classic Defender is incredible. We want to position ourselves as the go-to specialists who offer the very best on the market.

“Ours will be a classic Defender that doesn’t look anything like any other SUV on the roads there. It’s quirky and it’s a quintessentially British icon.

“Tom is the perfect person to head up the North America operation – he’s very driven and has considerable experience in the sector.”

Tom added: “I’m thrilled to be working with Twisted; I have followed the brand for many years. Defender is a vehicle I am very well acquainted with, and I have vast experience exporting into North America. The key is keeping clients involved in the process and ensuring that the end product exceeds their expectations. This is something that I have no doubt I can do working with Twisted.”

Twisted Automotive is dedicated to making the Defender the very best it can be. In March, sister company LR Motors won an epic three-year legal battle with Jaguar Land Rover over the use of two letters – LR. Founder Charles Fawcett described it as a victory for the ‘little guy’ over an industry giant.