Okay, so I’m biased. I love Land Rover Discoverys and have owned three, including our current family hack, which is a W-reg Td5 ES Auto. Given that we have a large family and live in a grand but crumbling Victorian DIY project, I can’t think of a vehicle more practical or versatile to suit our needs. The fact it’s British and well and truly rooted in AROnline territory was, for once, a secondary purchase consideration – but a bonus nonetheless. I’ll be introducing it via Our Cars fairly soon, but there are other more interesting vehicles on the fleet I need to talk about first…
Anyway, I digress. Like many AROnline readers, I’ve got myself into a spot of bother via eBay on more than one occasion. I have a well-lubricated bidding finger, and a happy-go-lucky approach to what might be waiting for me at the other end. Both my previous Discoverys, my Rover Sterling, my Metro Clubman (ah yes, another one I’ve yet to talk publicly about) and several other Eighties and Nineties classics have come from there, and have mostly been tremendous buys despite my blind faith.
Were it not for there being – in no uncertain terms – no more room at the inn, I’d be adding this one to the fleet tomorrow…
Most 200 TDi Discoverys have gone one of two ways: either they’ve been used as road cars up until the point that the bodywork, especially around the rear end, has finally given up the ghost and crumbled away from the inside out, or they’ve been bought up by the ‘let’s off road!’ brigade and now tower above everything else on the road thanks to ludicrous lift kits, tractor tyres, chopped off bumpers, skid plates and multiple aerials (and why not – I’d actually quite like my own roadgoing Tonka toy).
What that does mean, though, is that all of a sudden a smart, unmolested 200Tdi Discovery is a rare old thing. They were, after all, only built for five years before the 300Tdi and Mk 1 facelift came in. These later ones were largely more refined, but in my view lack the purity of design of the original. The Jasper Conran interior, the simple, plain front end, the small mirrors, all of which made the original Disco such a functional yet well-formed vehicle.
These, I reckon, are about to catch on as iconic classics of their era. 25 years since the launch of what has become one of Land Rover’s most successful nameplates, the appetite for well-preserved unmodified ones is growing, and this one looks well worth the £1,500 asking price.
Okay, it’s not perfect. For starters, it has 200k on the clock (although that’s nothing for the venerable 200Tdi), there are some very small blisters coming through on the rear door shuts (they all do that, sir, and don’t I know it…) and the driver’s seat has a small worn-through area on the squab, but trying finding a Disco with fabric seats where that hasn’t happened.
The appeal, for me, lies in the fact that it has clearly been well maintained and looked after. It sits right, no sagging or listing to one side, the bodywork is bright and free of major knocks and the cabin looks clean and very presentable – remember, we’re talking about a fifteen hundred quid cheapie here, not a concours d’elegance contender.
But the great thing is, I genuinely don’t think it’d require that much to make this a show car. Providing the boot floor and body mounts are good, then a liberal application of Waxoyl, some sympathetic stitching to the driver’s seat and a bit of detailing would make it something well worthy of preservation, and I don’t think for a minute you’d risk losing a penny on it.
Indeed, if I had the space, I wouldn’t be sharing it now, as it’d be keeping the Discovery II company outside the house.
Have a look at it here, and let me know what you think…