I’ve always liked the Discovery. Those who know me may be surprised by this, because I own a pair of much-loved overland-equipped Defender 110s, but the Disco has a certain something and, while I’ll always prefer the Defender, Discos turn my head.
I was the proud keeper of a Camel Disco until it became clear that I couldn’t afford the full bodywork-heavy restoration it needed, so it was with some regret that I sold it to a friend who could give it a complete rebuild.
Since then I’ve been on the lookout for a Disco that does what I want – a reliable, capable long-range expedition vehicle.
Discovery 1s are excellent, but the well-documented rear body rot is an issue and the boot is too small. Discovery 2s have always put me off because of their electronics – until now, that is. Black Paw 4x4 in York builds an excellent compromise – its ‘Discovery Sahara’ conversion.
Ben at Black Paw set out to redesign the Discovery 2 with expedition and overland travel uppermost in mind – and the Sahara does this very well.
Starting with a Discovery 2 base vehicle, Ben simplifies its electronics (which entails the removal of the traction control, ACE and air suspension) and swaps the Td5 engine for a rebuilt and more fieldmaintainable 300Tdi.
There is then a whole range of options that can be fitted according to your needs – including nifty side lockers that replace the rearmost side windows.
Reinstating the diff lock linkage is a must, and the Disco also sports a Husky winch, mated to a salvaged winch bumper and bull bar. My particular Disco Sahara began life as a 2001 West Yorkshire Police V8, and still has the Discovery 2 heavy-duty steel wheels that I prefer, as well as a Mantec snorkel fitted with Black Paw’s own pre-filter.
The suspension is Britpart Dynamic and tyres are BF Goodrich ATs. Altogether, it takes the best of the Discovery 2 – the comfort, space, road manners, off-road ability and driving position – and removes the faffery of possibly unreliable and hard-to-fix electronics, mixing this with the bombproof and generally tremendous 300Tdi.
Added to the mix are a nice range of unique, bespoke pieces of equipment that really enhance the Discovery’s abilities in the expedition role. Its first overland outing will be happening soon – I can’t wait.