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 .