12The three-door bodyshell died alongside the Discovery 1, which gave Land Rover Special Vehicles a problem in continuing with its popular Commercial conversion.
Because it was classed as a van, it was Vat-free, and there were strict regulations in both the UK and Irish markets to prevent them being easily converted back into normal passenger vehicles.
After some negotiation with the tax authorities, a solution was eventually reached by fitting opaque, fixed glass in the rear side windows and doors, coupled with bonded glass in the quarter panels and alpine lights. The interior featured a solid full-height partition with mesh grille behind the driver and front passenger seats. All other rear trim was removed and a robust rubber mat covered the floor. A lift-up area at the front could be accessed via the rear doors. Side panniers from the five-seater were also provided.
The arrangement gave a large cargo area that could be accessed from the rear side and back doors – a practical, user-friendly configuration. although the numbers converted by Special Vehicles were relatively small because the cost of the conversion made the tax saving seem a lot less attractive.
‘Strict regulations prevented the Commercial being converted back into a normal passenger car’
The extra length of the Discovery 2 gave it useful carrying capacity when the rear seats were removed. The cost of the Commercial conversion constrained sales, though.