The D4 that has its cake and eats it



For Paul Ban­nis­ter, bling is just not his thing – his Disco 4 has been thought­fully and bril­liantly mod­i­fied to do the job he needs it to do

The fully tricked-up Dis­cov­ery 4 rolls into the car park. Wow – what a stunner! Lit­tle won­der that this very ex­am­ple did so well in our Mod­i­fied Land Rover of the Year com­pe­ti­tion last year. It’s clearly far from stan­dard, but it’s all been clev­erly done – the base ve­hi­cle it­self hasn’t been touched. So, al­though it looks like a rad­i­cally mod­i­fied Land Rover, all the mods have been car­ried out in such a way that it can quickly be re­turned to stan­dard.

‘Frosty’, a 2015 HSE Lux­ury from the very top of the Dis­cov­ery 4 hi­er­ar­chy, is Paul Ban­nis­ter’s third Dis­cov­ery, fol­low­ing on from a 2006 Disco 3 and a 2012 D4 HSE.

Paul is clearly a big D4 fan, but he’s not alone in the Ban­nis­ter house­hold; his wife Anna is on her sec­ond, and finds it per­fect as an ev­ery­day car for fer­ry­ing about the cou­ple’s four chil­dren (11-year-old twins, 10 and eight) and all their para­pher­na­lia. It’s one of the only ve­hi­cles they could find ca­pa­ble of ac­com­mo­dat­ing three child seats across the sec­ond row, plus a full com­ple­ment of dogs, div­ing equip­ment and more be­sides

This is a seven-seater in which at least one of the third-row seats reg­u­larly gets used – and which will be­come in­creas­ingly im­por­tant as the kids grow big­ger.

The Dis­cov­ery is used end­lessly, as a fam­ily runaround, camp­ing ve­hi­cle, week­end play­thing and for tow­ing a trailer or car­a­van. They also live in a semi-ru­ral lo­ca­tion that some­times gets a cou­ple of feet of snow and lo­calised flood­ing – both sit­u­a­tions in which you’re glad to have a Land Rover on hand.

So, it’s clear that a D4 works well for them but why mod­ify a nearly new, top-spec model that left the pro­duc­tion line with vir­tu­ally all the finer things in life (dig­i­tal TV, heated steer­ing wheel, mood light­ing, timed cli­mate con­trol…) al­ready in place?

Paul’s view is straight­for­ward: start off with a ve­hi­cle that’s as good as it pos­si­bly can be and then im­prove it to make it more adept at fa­cil­i­tat­ing the stuff that he and his fam­ily en­joy. He’s taken a lot of in­spi­ra­tion from friends and from other ve­hi­cles he’s seen; so al­though most of the in­di­vid­ual mods are

‘Why mod­ify a ve­hi­cle that left the pro­duc­tion line with all the finer things in life al­ready in place?’

fa­mil­iar enough, the com­bined end re­sult is a Dis­cov­ery 4 that is al­most cer­tainly unique.

The fact that many parts are be­spoke backs this up. Each mod­i­fi­ca­tion has been care­fully thought out to be a prac­ti­cal en­hance­ment to this coveted fam­ily car’s daily du­ties. They all need to be re­versible too; al­though it’s in­tended that the D4 will be a part of the Ban­nis­ter house­hold for some time to come, there’s al­ways the pos­si­bil­ity that it’ll be look­ing for a new owner at some point in the fu­ture, and it’s usu­ally eas­ier to find tak­ers for ve­hi­cles that are in pris­tine, fac­tory spec

There was no blank cheque book in­volved in cre­at­ing this su­perb Land Rover. By can­nily reusing parts that were on his pre­vi­ous ve­hi­cles, Paul has man­aged to keep costs in check.

This is one busy Dis­cov­ery. Early in the year, when the Beast from the East was wreak­ing its win­try havoc, Paul spent a fair bit of time help­ing to trans­port lo­cal hospi­tal staff to and from work. Shortly af­ter­wards, he took the Land Rover up to Northum­ber­land to help out on the Kielder 4x4 Sa­fari, which was rais­ing funds for Northum­ber­land Moun­tain Res­cue. It’s also a fa­mil­iar sight at mo­tor­sport events – in­clud­ing the Scot­tish Bor­ders Hill Rally, where Paul is a mar­shal.

And then, with all the spare time that he has left (!), he mucks in to help one of his mates run his recre­ational 4x4 tours busi­ness.

Keep your eyes peeled – you’re bound to see it. And you’ll be im­pressed when you do .

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