It’s hard enough buying and running any type of car, let alone a Discovery 3, but 19-year-old Spencer Smith was determined he was going to have one, so he got all the parts and built one from scratch. There’s just one thing... he can’t fit inside it. Spencer’s Discovery 3 is a remote control scale model of the vehicles that took part in the G4 Challenge.
The Discovery is based on a kit from Tamiya that Spencer bought in the summer of 2010. It originally came with a Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 body with a short wheelbase, so Spencer was soon on the hunt for a Discovery bodyshell to fit the chassis.
The body proved hard to find, and when Spencer did track one down, some chassis modifications were required to increase the vehicle’s wheelbase for it to fit. The shaft-driven, full-time four-wheel-drive Land Rover is formidable off-road thanks to locked differentials front and rear and Spencer’s modifications.
An uprated electric motor and a 16- tooth pinion gear provide plenty of torque to the new extreme off-road tyres, giving it the grip to go anywhere.
The original suspension, made of plastic, didn’t give the vehicle enough articulation, so Spencer fitted aluminium ball-joint suspension links and replaced
the old plastic bearings with heavy-duty steel ball bearings – all purchased off eBay.
Unable to find a front steering guard, Spencer designed one himself and fabricated it to fit. On the roof rack, he packed expedition kit, including a spare wheel, petrol can, roof tent/ awning, and a tool box, some of which he made himself.
Spencer’s Discovery has a 4x4 ability that’s comparable with the real thing. It can tackle 50º inclines, whatever the surface. The powerful motor allows it to crawl over rocks, through thick mud or dense undergrowth. It performed particularly well in the heavy snow this winter.
At weekends, Spencer can be seen pushing his Land Rover to the limits at the beach, woods
or anywhere with rough terrain.
This owner review appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of LRO. Current and Back issues are available to download on digital devices here. Please note, we only hold stocks of the the last three back issues.