1992 Land Rover Discovery

1992 Land Rover Discovery


Status: Sold to Zeke R. of Bristol RI
Manufactured: Great Britain
Imported: Valencia, Spain
Engine: 200Tdi Turbo Diesel
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual

We welcomed Jarrod Hills, a local teacher, photographer, and Land Rover enthusiast to test drive and photograph this two-door, turbo diesel Discovery for our site. His passion for Rovers runs deep, having previously driven a seriously trail-prepared Discovery 1. In a day and age where speed reigns supreme, Jarrod still shoots on good old-fashioned film. The results are different and beautiful. We had to crop some of his images to fit Squarespace’s landscape format. The originals can be found here. His experience with the truck is below. Find Jarrod’s photography on Instagram at @throttlebycable. – Bill

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Vehicles take on a persona. If you are reading this, you probably understand what I mean by this. We know they don’t actually have souls, but we often refer to them as having something more. Being something more than just a sum of their parts. We know they aren’t alive but the truly special ones, the ones we connect with, they are said to have character. To have a soul about them. Almost as if they are alive in some way.

When I was presented with the opportunity to take this particular Discovery 1 out, I did not know what to expect. I had a Discovery 1 for some time. It was an early American market ‘Disco’, being a 1995, and it was a V8, fully loaded beast of a thing. Built up with the best of what the aftermarket had to offer, it would go almost anywhere. This lovely green one though, is the complete opposite. It is a 200tdi diesel. Not the 3.9 V8 I am used to. It’s set up on slightly larger than stock tires and NATO steel wheels. Not the oversized monsters I had put on mine. It offered Camel Trophy to counter my Rubicon Trail. It is equipped with what you need and not overly burdened with electrical bits. A completely different way of looking at things.

I came to take the truck on an impromptu tour of the country lanes around Marshall. The temperature was decent and it was a soft, overcast day. The previous couple days had brought much rain so anything that was not paved, was slick and muddy. My attempts at trying to keep it as clean as I possibly cold were futile. I decided to bring with me my Nikon F4, a couple of lenses, and a few rolls of film, Kodak Portra 400 to be more specific. Why film when digital is easier? I waxed poetically about how somethings are more than just their parts and how some things just have a sort of soul to them. To me, taking photos on film is like that. They are never going to be as clinical as a digital photo will but there is something about the way film renders colors and gradients, and how it changes based on which film emulsion you choose. Everything influences the final product. Age. Temperature. Storage method. Like a car, it all matters. There is something about how your margin for error is far slimmer than with digital. That guessing game as to whether you got the shot or not. These make it feel more ‘alive’ to me. I enjoy taking photos with digital equipment as well, but film feels…better. Slower, but worth the time.

Capturing a Land Rover on film just felt natural on that overcast day. A way to get the deep green of the Discovery to contrast with the post fall Virginia landscape. It was a challenge and one that I truly enjoyed taking on. I loaded my gear into the rear of the Discovery, made easier by the one-piece side hinged tailgate, opened the driver’s door and climbed into the well bolstered driver’s seat. Once there, you notice the seating position. A seating position that I genuinely love. The greenhouse and high seating position leave you with an enviable line of sight. A turn of the key and the 200tdi diesel starts up and effortlessly moves the truck out onto the road. The diesel was a first to me. It is no powerhouse but neither was the 3.9 V8 in my Discovery. The V8 did have a quick punch of torque to it where this does not but it by no means is underpowered. Think more like a locomotive than a dragster. It builds and as the turbo comes on, pulls the truck along. The LT77 5 speed transmission found its gear very easily and directly making the trip around the countryside easy and enjoyable. I mentioned that film appeals to me due to the deliberate nature of it. That although it might not be the fastest, it is always enjoyable and worth the time. This was turning out to be the film process on wheels. I was smiling. This Disco was showing it had some character. Some soul.

As I drove down the road, finding the heating and window controls was simple. They were right where you would expect them to be. Not overly complicated as they are in newer cars. The Discovery took me down local winery roads, through two tracked fields, up a muddy and rutted out access road, and I use the term road very loosely, to the top of a sizable hill where an historic home is under active renovation. Being a history buff, it is things like this that I cannot resist. All it took was an easy selection of first gear, a light grip on the steering wheel while letting the combination of Falken Wildpeak ATs wrapped around white NATO steel wheels (very Camel Trophy) and the torque of the diesel pull me up and through all that was in front of me. After walking around the old log cabin style barns and outhouses, I got back into the truck and headed back into town.

Never once did the Discovery complain. Never once did it disappoint. The Discovery was the middle offering from Land Rover. The Range Rover: estate type runabout. The Defender: implement. The Discovery is the perfect town and country vehicle. You can comfortably take it antiquing in the small, historic towns of the Virginia countryside and then, just as easily and comfortably, take it up muddy, slick, rutted two tracks. Its persona is that of a multitool. Like the film I used to take these photos. It might not be quick but it delivers an experience that is truly worth your time.

- Jarrod Hills.

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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 110,000 miles (178,000 km). Purchased from the second owner near Valencia, Spain, the truck saw regular maintenance and use, though not significant enough to rack up substantial mileage over its life. Transfer case and transmission both shift easily. The Discovery is a pleasant and easy to live with package for the 200Tdi. With the same driveline being found in both the Defender and the Range Rover Classic, the Discovery represents tremendous value for the capability when compared with its peers.

Exterior. Ardennes Green paint is original and largely intact. Some baking of the clear coat is evident on the roof and hood. Truck has dual manual sunroofs, the same style used in the NAS Defender’s with the hand rotating a wheel to engage. The two-door model was never sold in the U.S., nor was the 200Tdi drivetrain, making this a rare beast here in the States. Tail light guards are aftermarket, and the Wolf-style tubeless wheels are brand new, clad with Falken Wildpeak AT’s. The exterior is otherwise stock, with factory roof rails adding to the truck’s capability and potential.

Interior. Stock tan interior is intact, with a small split on the driver’s left-side bolster having been previously repaired. Truck is equipped with Air Conditioning. The interior is otherwise very original, with center console bag and upholstery all original. The radio is aftermarket. Carpets are intact, as are door cards and the headliner. Power front windows work, while the second-row windows have a manual mechanism allowing them to vent an inch or two. Lights, signals, and gauges all work. The shifter falls nicely in your hand, and for those accustomed to US-market Discoveries, the third pedal is a welcome addition.

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