As Land Rover plans to cease production of the cult Defender, a Yorkshire based company that remodels the all-terrain vehicle has seen orders soar as fans seek to secure their piece of history. Ciara Lee reports.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**NONE** It's thought to be the Queen's favourite ride - the Land Rover Defender has graced the British countryside for over 60 years. But production is to be halted at the end of the year. The classic all-terrain models can no longer compete with EU rules on emissions and safety. But for Yorkshire based company Twisted, the news has led to a SPIKE in sales with profits expected to rise 18 percent this year to 5 million pounds. It rebuilds Defenders, making changes to the engine, body work and creating luxurious interiors. James Fawcett is managing director. (SOUNDBITE) CHARLES FAWCETT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, TWISTED "Everybody wants to grab their little bit of history. And for us we put ourselves in a very fortunate position to to be able to secure a significant order which will carry us through the next three or four years of production. At which point there will be a new Defender of sorts, but it will never be what we are all used to." A rough and ready run-around loved by farmers and the military, the Defender has gained something of a cult following over the years. Twisted says it is making it a more efficient 4x4. (SOUNDBITE) CHARLES FAWCETT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, TWISTED "It might include more power, interior sound-proofing, panel alignment, gun boxes, dog boxes, ski racks. Different engines, different transmissions, different brakes, there are so many options." With projects costing up to £160,000, it's a purchase for the wealthy elite. As a result the firm is building stronger links with over a dozen countries including the US and China. Sources suggest the end date for the Defender could be extended into the beginning of the year, with new models likely to appear in the future. But the four wheel drive as we know it, will be heading off into the sunset.