An Alarming Discovery

Is Martin Domoney's Land Rover Discovery hitting the right notes? 

Despite intending to keep my 110 for the long term, a combination of an offer I couldn’t refuse and an impending house purchase sadly put paid to that plan. It’s off to America when its 25th birthday rolls around. I was sad to let it go, but it gave me an excuse to hunt for a replacement – and who doesn’t love Land Rover shopping, right?

I decided early on that I wanted either a facelift Freelander TD4 or a 300 Tdi Discovery 1. Both would offer plenty of comfort and be perfect for the miles I cover, but the Freelander lacks the load capacity I'd got used to towing with the 110. But then it would be better on fuel...

After driving one of each, I realised the Disco was the way to go – for my needs, anyway. I’ve had two, so I’m aware of their foibles, and knew I could fit all my gear in the boot and have room for passengers.

The search began, and I know it’s generally frowned upon to buy the first one you see, but I really wish I had. It was lovely, but it was sold as soon as I’d got home. With deadline day looming for the handover of the 110, I arranged to see a ‘96 five-door in London after work. The price was right – £1500 – so I brought home the Avalon Blue Discovery you see before you.

With a previous owner of over 14 years and full history, I could overlook the scabby paint and that one of the sills was on its way out; Disco 1s need regular welding anyway. Being a ‘96 auto, the 300Tdi has Electronic Diesel Control (EDC), boosting 111bhp to 120 – it makes a huge difference, too.

As with any new acquisition, I changed the oil and filter, reset the tappets and gave it a once- over. I need to find out why the alarm ECU thinks the tail door is always open and setting the alarm off. So far it’s taken me greenlaning, towed trailers and picked up parts from all over the country, so I’m thrilled with it. I’m going to treat it to a fresh set of coolant hoses and the welding needs doing sooner rather than later, but other than that, all is well. Touch wood!