1992 Land Rover Discovery

1992 Land Rover Discovery


Status: Sold to Caleb C. of Vesuvius, VA
Manufactured: Great Britain
Imported: Barcelona, Spain
Engine: 200Tdi Turbo Diesel
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual

Photographing our vehicles in the morning is anything but routine as the locations always change, but one element that is consistently present is a hot cup of coffee. Summer, winter, I don’t care. It’s part of the romance of it. I pulled the Discovery out of the shop this morning and edged onto Main St for a whopping 100 yards before pulling over to stop at Red Truck Bakery for “the usual,” a large black cup of joe. I hopped back into the Discovery, with its supportive seats and manual transmission, to realize for the first time that in 1992, Land Rover did not see fit to provide Discovery owners with cup holders.


I drive a 2004 Discovery II SE7, the 4.6L V8, four-door truck, as a daily driver. Here at the shop we have a 1998 Discovery I, the 3.9L V8, four-door truck. I’ve also driven my share of 200Tdi trucks. I’m not sure what I was expecting with my first 200tdi, 2-Door Discovery I, but I can virtually assure you that “being surprised” about anything wasn’t on my radar. Finding myself driving a stick-shift with a cup of coffee pinched gingerly between my thighs was just the first.

In 1992, Land Rover sold three vehicles: The Defender, the Range Rover, and the Discovery. Tucked in-between it’s brothers, the Discovery I was, just like it’s stable mates, offered in different configurations around the globe. In the U.S. we saw four-door trucks with V8’s mated to automatic gearboxes. In Europe however, the Discovery was sold in a two-door configuration as well, with the mighty 200tdi turbo diesel for a heart, mated to a five-speed LT77 manual transmission. The truck is not fast. If you’ve driven a 3.9L V8 Discovery, you may fondly recall that little punch of torque that hits right off the line (don’t get me wrong; those aren’t ‘fast’ either, but all things in relativity here…). The 200Tdi in the Discovery has a nice little swelling of power as the truck gets up and goes.

Maybe it was the reward of driving a stick shift where I’ve only ever driven an automatic. Or maybe it was the quintessentially 1990’s interior, with it’s rounded vents, ergonomic shifter, and the sea of blue. But somewhere out on the road this morning I realized I really, really liked this Discovery. It’s not perfect. The seats have a few small tears here and there. Small parts of the interior need some TLC, and the Arken gray paint was correct for the truck, but not original. But the Discovery coupé just felt right. None of my Discoveries are fast. This one leaned into that a little bit more, which felt right. It’ll do 75mph without issue, has power windows, a radio, climate control, and electric locks. But it also feels like it wants to go go go. The suspension, spooling turbo, and light steering all combined to make an enjoyable ride.

Selfishly, I’ve always adored the Discovery 1 when wearing steel, NATO-style wheels, a-la Camel Trophy trucks. As such, for our initial foray into the world of Discovery imports, we installed a set of five new tubeless NATO-style steel wheels, powder coated them in a light gray, and clad them with BF Goodrich All-Terrain TA KO2s.  The vehicle is otherwise largely stock, with the exception of a dated Pioneer radio. It even includes the original center console carry-away bag.

Actually, at the risk of rambling, let’s talk about that. You’ll notice in the photos that this truck has a fabric, zipper bag in the center console. That puppy has two little snaps on the side, and just like that, it’s out of the car: A little tote bag, embroidered with a Land Rover logo. I can simultaneously think of a few potential uses for it and absolutely no reason for it to exist at all. Our shop truck sure doesn’t have it. I suppose when you’re outfitting an interior such as this, there’s no reason to stop short of creating the most beautiful 1992 time capsule you possibly can. I hope the new owner put’s that to good use.

Driveline. 200Tdi four-cylinder turbo diesel mated to a five-speed transmission with high/low transfer case and manual center locking differential. Vehicle currently shows 183,000 miles. Transmission is tight and shifts up and down the range without grinding. Truck propels to about 75 a little over 3,000 RPM. You can do more. I didn’t. The Discovery doesn’t produce visible smoke, starts easily, and has a rebuilt injection pump and a new fuel pump recently installed (Sept 2018).

Exterior. The truck is clad in Arken Gray which presents as a very nice driver quality truck. Paint is the original color, but is not the original paint. The truck is devoid of rust; frame, panels, rockers, floors, are all largely straight and clean. Vehicle is clad in new tubeless NATO-style wheels with BF Goodrich All-Terrain TA KO2 tires, including a full-size matching spare.

Interior. The original blue fabric interior is present and largely intact, with a small tear on the driver’s seat (right bolster near seatbelt) and a small tear that has been repaired on the rear seat. Front seats fold forward to provide easy access to the rear. Electric front windows, electric door locks. This truck does not have a sunroof. Gauges and exterior lights all work. Truck does not have air conditioning. Seats are ridiculously comfortable for no discernable reason, and the aesthetics might require you to buy some parachute pants. Otherwise, pack your luck in your removable tote bag and hit the trails.  

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