Richard Watson is a clever chap. In just a few months, he transformed his battered, £700 Discovery 200Tdi into one of the most capable Land Rovers around – without spending too much money on it.
‘I wanted an extreme off-roader; but with a young family to support, I couldn’t justify spending too much,’ Richard explains. ‘The chief priority was to beef up the axles, because I was fed up breaking diffs and halfshafts. I could have spent a considerable sum uprating the original Land Rover axles, but my route has been cheaper and more satisfying – the only thing
I would have done differently is to buy better-condition replacement axles.’
The axles Richard chose were from a 1993, UK-spec, 80-Series Toyota Land Cruiser. ‘The factory-fitted electric locking diffs drew me to them – as well as the reputation for strength, and the price.’ Richard picked the axles up for £100 the pair and then spent just £180 on the overhaul. That’s a massive saving over uprating the originals.
As well as the axle swap, this Discovery also has some serious axle travel thanks to the three-link front and modified rear suspension, all of which he designed and engineered himself.
For more in-depth information, check out Richard’s thread on the LR4x4 forum and also have a look on YouTube for videos of the Discovery in action at the superb Seven Sisters off-road site in South Wales.