I originally started modifying my Discovery 1 more than a decade ago, around the time the LR3 (the US name for the Discovery 3) was announced. The Discovery 2 prices plummeted and Discovery 1s, taking an even steeper nosedive, became a dime a dozen. So I had no regret modifying my daily driver 4.0-litre 1996 Disco into what would become a dedicated rock crawling machine!
I retained the somewhat troublesome V8 (it is very hot in the desert here!), the ZF autobox and LT230 transfer box and serviced them before starting to modify the rest of the drive train.
The plan was to run 35in tyres, and I've got Goodyear MTRs. This meant custom-building suspension elements, as there was nothing suiting such a set up. I started with a 1in Rovertym aluminium body lift before upgrading the axles.
I opted for US specialist Great Basin Rovers' heavy-duty shafts and Tom Woods long-travel driveshafts. I run an ARB diff locker up front and a Detroit Locker in the back. This gives me perfect traction. And I've fitted Rovertym Engineering radius and trailing arms, Panhard rods and +5in springs - all mated to Fox Racing dampers offering 12in of travel.
I was pretty happy with the set up and kept it for a while, but later I completely rethought the use of the Disco and chopped off all the (non-structural) roof and doors! Not something you would be tempted to do in the UK, but soft-tops in general are popular in our nation of Jeep fanatics.
A grinder frenzy session later, and it'd lost its roof and front doors. Rear doors, upper frames and windows were simply unbolted. I then built a roll cage, which would act as a frame for the soft top. To make room for the spare wheel, I took the rear bench seat out and installed salvaged Discovery 2 jump seats - they even match the front tan leather ones! A pick-up truck bed locker acts as a boot.
Land Rover nuts will notice the Discovery 2 headlights, clear indicators and side repeaters, modified Disco 2 plastic wheel arches, the Freelander 1 third brake light and the Range Rover Supercharged logo in the back. The black bonnet is just for looks, and I've put spotlights on the Rovertym bumper, as well as a Warn 9.5 Ti winch. An Atlantic British skidplate protects the front, while a Rock Ware plate saves the fuel tank from damage.
Published in the May 2015 issue of Land Rover Owner. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.
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