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The Renault Twizy isn’t exactly the first car you’d think of when it comes to modified motors, but when the man asking for a few changes is motorsport legend Sir Stirling Moss, it’s hard to refuse the request.
Sir Stirling is perhaps used to vehicles of a more powerful disposition, but his French electric city car serves every need he has in the bustling streets of London.
Britain’s most iconic racing driver says of the Twizy: “There are couple of big benefits of having a car like this. First of all, it has two seats, so I can take somebody with me. There’s no congestion charge, you can park nose into the pavement, or even in a metered bay without being charged.
“Also it’s quiet and the battery charge lasts for about 50 miles, so I think it’s ideal as a city car. It wouldn’t be so good in the country, where you have to drive 15 miles to get anywhere and still get back.”
However, there was one element that wasn’t quite to Sir Stirling’s fancy: the suspension. A call to specialists Bilstein saw the two parties have a keen discussion on how his Twizy’s handling could be improved upon, resulting in their R&D team to dyno, disassemble and begin re-designing the Twizy’s damper units. Further alterations included a set of custom ERS springs also being fitted with the help of Eibach, and with another set of dyno testing and final configuration, the Twizy was ready.
Moss commented on the modifications: “I don’t know why Renault made it so solid. If you got hold of the car from the outside you couldn’t shake it, and when you got going the ride delivered an unnecessary level of discomfort.
“I simply asked them to improve the chassis any way they saw fit. I told them about the stiffness of the original suspension and the number of potholes and cobblestone streets and hoped they would be able to help me not get shaken like hell.
“The Twizy handles well with these new changes. Really well! It’s now ideal in town and softened up enough not to shake me to pieces. Around town the new suspension offers enormous advantages. In my view, Bilstein dampers are as good as they get. I remember having them on my race cars way back, but I also remember my sister using Bilstein extensively in her driving career because the company was so highly regarded in rallying.”
Richard Anderson, Bilstein UK’s general manager said, “It was an honour and a pleasure to help Sir Stirling hone his Twizy to the exact way he wanted it. It’s certainly one of the smallest and lightest cars our team has worked on, but with our friends at Eibach, it was a relatively straightforward exercise to enhance the damper’s operation and rate to create a car that offered both enhanced ride and comfort. Not an easy thing to achieve, but no matter what the brief says, we always have an engineering solution for it.”
Sir Stirling’s Twizy is a rather unique model on its own, thanks to its head-turning shade of green and the private number plate ‘SM 7’ – a registration used on his Aston Martin Cygnet before it – and will no doubt become a very welcome sight in London.