FIVE TRI­ALs

We en­joy the Land Rover Dis­cov­ery 1 and put it fully to the test

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Driving -

1 DAILY DRIV­ING

A Dis­cov­ery is very easy to live with. There are plenty of stor­age ar­eas to squir­rel away the de­tri­tus of daily life, in­clud­ing map pock­ets in the roof for both front and rear pas­sen­gers, and a handy cubby box be­tween the two front seats. Plusher mod­els of­fer lux­u­ries such as twin sun­roofs (which al­ways leak, so you’ll need to con­sider seal­ing them up), front – and some­times rear – air con­di­tion­ing and leather seat­ing for up seven, though the side­waysfac­ing rear seats are best-suited to chil­dren. Run­ning costs are rea­son­able for a large 4x4, and it should be per­fectly ca­pa­ble of cruis­ing at 70mph for long pe­ri­ods. Just don’t ex­pect it to be par­tic­u­larly rest­ful by mod­ern stan­dards.

2 IN THE SER­VICE BAY

Break­downs aren’t com­mon, and every fault you’re likely to en­counter will be well doc­u­mented on on­line fo­rums. Elec­tri­cal prob­lems some­times crop up (es­pe­cially with the im­mo­biliser), usu­ally the re­sult of mois­ture com­ing through the sun­roof and get­ting where it shouldn’t. Lo­cat­ing the prob­lems can be a pain, but it’s usu­ally an easy and rel­a­tively low­cost fix. The run­ning gear is all tra­di­tional coil­sprung Land Rover stuff that’s eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble and built to last. New and used re­place­ment parts are widely avail­able, and if you’re in­ter­ested in mod­i­fy­ing you’ll find count­less af­ter­mar­ket op­tions avail­able. To pre­vent rust tak­ing a hold, it’s vi­tal to get un­der­neath every few months, scrub away the mud and get busy with some qual­ity un­der­seal.

3 OFF-ROAD AD­VEN­TURE

In­ter­est in Dis­cos at shows is grow­ing. The spotlight is fo­cused most on the ear­li­est G-WAC mod­els (re­fer­ring to the pre­fix and suf­fix of their reg­is­tra­tion num­bers, which de­note the cars used on the orig­i­nal dealer and press launch). Three-door ver­sions still turn heads, and Camel Tro­phy edi­tions have al­ways en­joyed a strong fol­low­ing. Mod­i­fied ve­hi­cles are com­mon­place, so only truly ex­cep­tional ex­am­ples stand out. Club events, off-road play­days and green­lane tours mean you’ll never be short of things to do. Land Rover shows are big too, not least the LRO Peter­bor­ough Show, hosted by CCW’s sis­ter ti­tle, Land Rover

Owner, every Septem­ber.

4 THE LONG WEEK­END

There can be few other clas­sics bet­ter suited to a long week­end away than an early Dis­cov­ery. There’s am­ple room in­side for five adults – and their lug­gage – and if your ac­com­mo­da­tion is down a rut­ted, muddy coun­try lane, the Disco won’t break sweat. It’s fairly easy to park de­spite its size, and if your idea of a fun week­end away in­volves camp­ing, car­a­van­ning, wa­ter sports, climb­ing or any other out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, then the Disco is per­fectly equipped to suit, es­pe­cially since most are fit­ted with a tow­bar and electrics. Cov­er­ing long dis­tances is no prob­lem, whichever en­gine you choose (though the fuel bills will be dra­mat­i­cally lower if you opt for a diesel), and many de­riv­a­tives have such lux­u­ries as an au­to­matic gear­box, cruise con­trol and air con­di­tion­ing.

5 THE B-ROAD BLAST

Out­right ac­cel­er­a­tion – even from the V8 – is un­der­whelm­ing, but hus­tling a healthy Dis­cov­ery on a twisty road can be re­ward­ing. Although a bit rau­cous, the diesels of­fer de­cent pulling power if you keep the revs over about 2500rpm, and a good R380 man­ual gear­box has a sweet ac­tion to it. The lofty driv­ing po­si­tion and rock-solid run­ning gear all add to the en­joy­ment. The brakes and clutch feel a lit­tle numb, as they’re built for dura­bil­ity and strength rather than re­spon­sive­ness. To be en­joy­able, though, it sim­ply has to be in good me­chan­i­cal con­di­tion. Many are poorly fet­tled or just a bit knack­ered, so the old ad­vice of buy­ing the best one you can af­ford cer­tainly ap­plies when look­ing for a Dis­cov­ery.

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