Your Land Rovers
Discovery 1 and ex-mod Defender 90
It was my dad who first saw this Discovery 1 advertised in a local paper. The description explained the vehicle had covered only 90,000 miles from new and had just benefited from a comprehensive service, including new brakes and tyres.
The original reason for new wheels was a driving trip to Italy my brother and I were planning. We thought a Discovery 1 would be better than our current Range Rover Classic, because its interior space could be used more effectively on an expedition.
Anyway, the asking price of the Disco seemed rather high (it was being sold by one of those ‘we buy any cars’ places) but because it was local to me, I thought it was worth a closer look.
At first glance, it looked to be in very good condition, wearing its
Epsom Green paint fairly well. But from my experience with Land Rovers this can be misleading – the phrase ‘never judge a book by its cover’ comes to mind.
The interior was absolutely immaculate and, being the posher Gs-spec, it had the added attraction of lovely half-leather seats in great condition.
I opened the bonnet and was presented with the iconic 3.9-litre, fuel-injected V8 Rover engine. It looked impressively clean, with only a little oil weeping from both rocker cover gaskets and the oil filter. I fired it up and it was immediately clear that the mid-exhaust silencer had been removed, along with both catalytic converters – it was sooo loud! I have no idea how it got through an MOT with the cats missing, but that’s another story.
After a few minutes the engine settled down to a nice idle speed, with no smoke coming from the exhaust; and the initial testdrive passed off without drama. The next place I checked was underneath, investigating all the usual Disco weak points, including the suspension components.
The only area that caused me a bit of concern was the rear crossmember – replacing one is a very involved job, as anyone who’s ever attempted it will know only too well.
This Disco had obviously seen better days; and I generally work on the assumption that if the crossmember is rotten then the boot floor and cross braces will also be in the same condition. In a way, this played in my favour because I knew I could use these points as bargaining chips.
After some serious negotiation I managed to get the Discovery for £1100 – considering it was initially up for £2500, I thought I didn’t do too badly!
After we got the vehicle back we wasted no time in putting it on the lift and giving it a thorough check. We estimated it would need another £800 spent on it to get it into a condition where we would be happy to take it on long-distance trips, and to press it into regular horseboxtowing
duties. The single-point LPG system would help keep fuel costs manageable.
Parts replaced included the exhaust system, front inner wings, rear inner wheelarches, brake pipes, rear crossmember, oil cooler, radiator, all bushes, four shock absorbers and the boot floor, including cross braces. We also gave it an engine service and a full fluid change, adding Evans waterless coolant. Quite a list.
As with all of the Land Rovers we buy, we like to give them a thorough test-drive to make sure that everything is working as it should, replace any parts where needed, check anything we’ve missed on the first inspection and ensure the work completed is doing its job.
This particular Discovery, however, gave us some headaches while trying to track down and rectify a particular fault. The vehicle would start absolutely fine whether hot or cold, but after about 20 minutes the engine would just stop without any warning. It was like someone had turned the key off, it was that graceful.
It turned out to be a break in the ignition-to-coil wire, with the wire breaking down when hot. After this was replaced with new cabling the fault has never returned. This is one fix I certainly won’t forget in a hurry because I had to be towed back home!
There are still a few jobs to do including fitting new standardsize tyres. In the end my brother and I didn’t take it to Italy (we took our Range Rover Classic as it’s more at home in the Alps and its fitted roof rack enabled us to accommodate the roof tent), but I will be taking the Disco around Scotland after which it’ll be put up for sale.
I’ll be sad to see it go because it’s a good, honest vehicle.
‘After serious negotiation I got it for £1100. It was up for £2500 so I thought I didn’t do too badly’
Half-leather interior was in great shape
NAME: David Tyler LOCATION: Northumberland VEHICLE: Discovery 1 V8i YEAR: 1999 FIRST LAND ROVER: 1993 200Tdi Discovery 1 OTHER LAND ROVERS:1972 2dr Range Rover, 1994 Range Rover OTHER HOBBIES: Offroad adventures