The debut of the Discovery 2 at Paris in September 1998 was planned to be the culmination of a spectacular round-the-world press drive dubbed ‘Tempest Trek’. Many thought the idea of taking the first two vehicles straight off the production line on such a venture was foolhardy, especially as one would be powered by the petrol V8, the other by the all-new diesel Td5.
The expedition was the brainchild of the late Bill Baker on secondment to the UK from Land Rover of North America. He had done expeditions before in the US, but this was to be the longest and most risky. He was helped in the planning by Iain Chapman of Camel Trophy fame. Accompanying Bill and Iain were Mark Dugmore from Vehicle Operations and photographer Nick Dimbleby. They would be joined by motoring journalists on the trip, which would finish at the Paris motor show.
The Td5 was burdened by towing a trailer full of spares, but the two Discovery 2s completed the trip with few problems – a good indicator of the reliability of both models.
The Tempest Trek vehicles were well equipped, including extra lighting, a winch and a roof-mounted antenna for satellite phone communication. On such a long trip, accidents were inevitable. Here (far right), expedition mechanic Mark Dugmore, on his first trip out of the UK, replaces a broken light unit.