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Welcome to the Series 1 Land Rover Discovery Car Bible. As you scroll down you’ll learn all about this vehicle’s qualities, features, finer points, and shortcomings. If you’re thinking about buying one of these, want some help maintaining or modifying one, or just want to deepen your knowledge for the next round of car trivia, you’ve come to the right place.

This is a living document that’s updated as we learn (and confirm) new valuable info. Got something to add? Drop a comment or send us an email! Don’t be shy; the more dialogue we have the better this Car Bible will get.
–Andrew P. Collins, Car Bibles Editor-In-Chief

(Disclaimers; Disclosures: Some Car Bibles will have links to specific forums, groups, brands, shops, or vendors for parts shopping and such. We have no sponsorship deals or official affiliation with any of them unless explicitly stated. We also have to explicitly state that you should work on your own car and follow our advice at your own risk!)

Contents

There’s a lot of info packed into this Bible. If you’re looking for something specific, hit command/control-F, type one of these terms, and your browser should bring you straight in.

  1. The Short Story
  2. Pictures
  3. Fast Facts
  4. Spotter’s Guide
  5. Rarity
  6. Check This Car Out If…
  7. Important Trim Levels and Options
  8. Year-To-Year Changes
  9. General Reliability and Ownership Costs
  10. Obscure Details
  11. Red Flags and Known Issues
  12. Recalls
  13. Where To Buy Parts
  14. Aftermarket Support
  15. Popular Modifications
  16. Key Technical Details
  17. Fluids, Filters, and Capacities
  18. Factory Service Manuals
  19. Other References and Resources
  20. Professional Reviews
  21. Owner Reviews
  22. What They’re Worth Now
  23. Where To Find One For Sale
  24. What To Ask A Seller
  25. Competitors To Consider
  26. Photo Galleries
  27. Pop Culture References
  28. Enthusiast Inquiries
  29. Downloadable Paperback Car Bible
  30. Comments Disclaimer

The Short Story

The Land Rover Discovery Series I, also known as the Discovery 1/I, Disco 1, or just D1, was Land Rover’s entry into the market for off-road-inclined consumers in the early ’90s. It was more daily driveable, yet just as capable, as a Defender (or more capable depending on who you ask), and not as big or expensive as a Range Rover. It was Land Rover’s answer to popular off-roaders from Japanese brands such as the Mitsubishi Montero, Nissan Pathfinder, Isuzu Trooper, and Toyota Land Cruiser.

When it was new, the original Discovery was sold in America as a family 4×4 for rich people. Back then, buyers like that were still willing to tolerate the brutishness of solid axles and comically bad fuel burn rates. Today, the Disco is a pretty cheap ticket to an impressively tough off-roader with a cool pedigree, as long as you’re willing to brave its reputation for being high maintenance.

The Discovery arrived in the U.S. a little bit behind some other markets, and we basically got the SUV’s first revision which included better headlights, small decorative tweaks, and rear doors. This Bible will be focusing on the U.S. variants. But despite the early three-door version never being sold here, we’ll include some photos of them since they look so good.

Pictures

Fast Facts

  • It utilizes an all-aluminum V8 that was originally developed by Buick in the 1960s.
  • The Disco was briefly available with five-speed manual for the North American market.
  • Optional rear jump seats (pictured above) increased occupancy by two; five-door models can hold as many as seven people.
  • To give the jump-seated passengers more headroom, Land Rover altered the roofline, giving it its distinctive shape.
  • All body panels, with the exception of the roof, are made of aluminum to help keep the weight down.
  • It’s a parts-bin special of sorts; it shares a lot of the same switchgear and interior components as other Rover cars of the era. Land Rover’s parent company was Rover Group, a beloved-by-Britons marque that went defunct in 2005.
  • The Discovery 1 was the most-raced Land Rover in Camel Trophy history.
  • Across the world several diesel engines were available, however, the North American market only got the 3.9-liter, and later 4.0-liter gasoline V8.
  • Due to a large amount of space underneath the frame and in the engine bay, as well as its overall simple design, the early Disco is very DIY-friendly.

Spotter’s Guide

The original Land Rover Discovery, as well as its follow-up the similar-looking Discovery 2, have very distinct styling. They’re tall and fairly narrow for their size, have a two-level roofline, safari windows (also known as alpine windows), and a higher-than-average ride height. From the rear, the first thing that sticks out (literally) is its spare tire, often adorned with a cool cover.

They also have a nice bright greenhouse with big windows everywhere with low door lines. This might not be the best for modern crash standards, but at least it means they’re great places to enjoy one’s surroundings in.

You can tell a D1 from a D2 by it’s chunkier door handles and smaller taillights, though if you saw the two next to each other it’d be quite obvious which is older.

Rarity

While market share wasn’t immense for Land Rover in the USA at the time, it did move a lot of Discoveries compared to other models in its lineup. From 1994 until 1998, Land Rover sold 62,489 Discoveries in the States. We couldn’t find any figures on how many manual-transmission models were sold, or how many of each trim, but the highest sales year was 1996 with 15,491 units, followed by 1997 with 14,703.

Check This Car Out If…

You’re in the market for a capable, fun off-road truck, and aren’t afraid of doing some DIY-wrenching.

Important Trim Levels and Options

There were several trim levels available: SE, SE7, SD, SD7, LE, LSE, and XD, all of which shared a lot of the same basic equipment, with minor changes like leather seats, and optional off-road equipment bolted on.

A manual transmission was the “standard” shifting option on base vehicles, but as you might have guessed, not too many people picked it and today used ones are pretty rare.

One of the Disco’s more novel options were of course the center-facing third-row jump seats (standard on the “7” trim models) and dual sunroofs. So in addition to the alpine windows in the way back, many D1s have two regular retractable glass roofs over the first and second rows.

The XD was the hardcore model that featured a cloth interior, no sunroof, a roof rack, skid plate, brush guard, and most distinctively… yellow paint!

The LSE was the top luxury trim, with many convenient options as standard, such as a six-disc CD changer, dual-zone climate control, leather interior, sunroof, fog lights, and jump seats.

Year-to-Year Changes

The Discovery was new-for-1994 in the U.S. but had actually been around elsewhere since 1989. By ’94, the only body style available was the five-door, and since America didn’t get any of the diesel engines, not much changed throughout its production run.

1994-1995 models’ engines had pre-OBDII engine management with cap-and-rotor ignition. According to enthusiasts it’s fairly easy to troubleshoot and diagnose issues.

The only evolution of real significance came in 1996 when the V8 engine displacement was upped from 3.9-liters to 4.0-liters. Technically, the block was virtually unchanged; it only received new pistons and some slight rigidity improvements.

In 1996, they also switched to distributor-less, OBDII-friendly engine management dubbed GEMS, or, Generic Engine Management System (so poetic!).

The first U.S. Discovery model was replaced by the Series II (“Disco 2”) in 1999.

General Reliability and Ownership Cost

Generally, Discovery 1s are more reliable than Discovery 2s, simply due to being less complex. However, they still aren’t without their foibles. Many parts are relatively cheap as far as European luxury spares go. Availability is good, especially for gaskets and electrical, steering, and cooling components.

However, certain parts get quite pricey either due to their complexity or rarity. The steering box, which is the piece of the steering system that moves the front wheels, is very expensive if purchased new. Luckily, refurbished examples cost far less.

Ignition lock assemblies for automatic transmission models are quite expensive. Like, significantly more than their manual-transmission counterparts.

Engine valvetrain components are generally cheap due to their simple, pushrod design. However, remanufactured engines with some reliability modifications thrown in cost upwards of $6,000 before core charges.

One aspect of Disco ownership that’s particularly expensive is just driving the thing – in the best of times they get 13 mpg city, 17 mpg highway. Our editor Andrew Collins claims he “was happy” to hit 14 mpg on the highway in his Discovery with a roof rack, light bar, and some aero trim removed.

Obscure Details

The D1 shares a lot of the same underpinnings as the Land Rover Defender (especially the NAS, or, North American Spec) and Range Rover Classic. In fact, some say it’s more capable off-road than a Defender and has more cargo capacity than a Range Rover. The best of both worlds?

A rebadged Discovery was sold by Honda in Japan, dubbed the Crossroad… yeah, pretty weird. The Land Rover was basically entirely unaltered except it had H emblems.

Red Flags and Known Issues

The Discovery 1’s common issues are well-known and documented. Luckily, they’re pretty easy to identify as well. Look out for:

Cooling issues. Discovery 1s run pretty hot even when they’re working correctly, which is why they come from the factory with not just a conventional radiator but also integrated oil coolers and a transmission cooler. As cooling system components age, Discos can overheat quite easily, causing several costly issues. These also become sources of leaks.

Slipped cylinder sleeves. This is caused by overheating; the aggressive expansion of the aluminum block causes its steel sleeves to slip, causing a ticking noise when the engine gets hot. Enthusiasts’ opinions seem to vary quite a bit on the severity of this – some say the worst that’ll happen is decreased fuel economy and the annoying ticking. Others say the sleeve will eventually drop down, hit the crank, and cause catastrophic destruction. Diagnosing a slipped sleeve can be tricky, as several worn components under the hood can cause a similar-sounding ticking. The general consensus however is that this is pretty rare on D1s and much more common on D2s.

Blown head gaskets. This seems to be a big deal breaker to most people, possibly due to it being a more complex job on Disco 2s. Because of how hot these engines can get combined with degrading cooling systems, their head gaskets can blow fairly easily, causing all sorts of drivability issues. The good news is replacing the head gaskets on a Disco 1 is a very straightforward and easy job, it just takes some time to move other stuff out of the way.

Coolant, oil, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid leaks. A well-passed around joke is some form of “Land Rovers leak so you know they’ve got fluids in them.” High-mileage examples can have all kinds of leaks, especially on the front of the engine; there are tons of gaskets and O-rings. It’s a good thing that everything’s pretty easy to examine from underneath once it’s been cleaned off.

Leaky window seals. Over time, the seals around the windshield, doors, windows, and sunroof can deteriorate and lead to water intrusion, and also expedite rust.

Rust. In cold and/or wet climates, rust can occur in the upper-inner rear fenders wells, the rear cargo floor, and outside corners of the front driver and passenger floors. According to enthusiasts, the latter is due to clogged sunroof drains. The body panels might be aluminum, but the complex frame underneath has all sort of nooks and crannies for rust to spread.

Electrical issues. It’s not uncommon for Discovery 1 owners to put up with certain electrics not working. Window switches, central locking, window regulators, cruise control, interior lighting, etc.; a lot of these break and require some time-consuming remedying.

Vague steering, wandering on the road, death wobble, etc. Worn out bushings and various components related to the Disco’s steering and suspension systems can cause these. Though Discos in general have pretty vague steering – they’re pretty old trucks at this point – so it can be hard to judge. Generally, the rule of thumb is to turn the car on, have a friend shake the steering wheel, and examine these components for play/wear. Adjusting the steering box also helps solve vagueness. Luckily, like a lot of stuff underneath it, these various parts can be quickly and easily replaced (if there isn’t too much corrosion).

Recalls

People like to dunk on Land Rovers all day about reliability and weird idiosyncrasies. But one area where they can’t dunk on the Disco 1 too hard is government-mandated recalls. For the most part, Disco 1s only had two recalls: driveshaft coupler failure, and an airbag fault. The airbag one is bizarre; make sure your Disco doesn’t have it, or it’s been remedied. For some reason the 1995 model year saw two more: the doors unexpectedly opening, and driveshafts loosening, causing them to disconnect from the axles.

Pop your VIN into the NHTSA’s lookup tool and you should be able to figure out what, if any, recalls your Disco might need addresed.

Where to Buy Parts

General fluids and filters can be easily found at any brick and mortar parts retailer. Above that, RockAuto.com, AutohausAZ.com are great sources, as are Land Rover-specific retailers like Atlantic British (RoverParts.com), RoversNorth.com, Lucky8, and Rovahfarm.com.

Aftermarket Support

The off-road and overlanding aftermarket is very strong for the Discovery 1. Lift kits, skid plates, differential guards, ladders, rock guards, bull bars, roof racks, roof-top tents, etc. are readily available at many retailers online. Suspension parts costs seem reasonable too… if you’re used to looking at pricing for expensive, track-oriented coilovers.

Tire sizes are common, and several companies offer performance brake pads for better stopping power and control off-road.

As far as seeking out more robust and powerful power plants, companies make engine mount and transmission adaptor kits for swapping in a reliable, ol’ faithful GM LS engine.

Generally, of the parts available in the aftermarket, lift kits comprised of dampers and springs seem to be the most popular. While the Discovery 1’s stock ride height is already very good for off-roading, aftermarket kits that raise it up at least two inches improve it even more. However, lifts over two inches require some modifications so the geometry isn’t all out of whack.

Enthusiasts also improve their Disco’s approach and departure angles by swapping in shorter steel bumpers, or simply trimming their stock bumper covers. You can remove the factory aero splitter from the front and make the truck look a lot more adventurous.

According to enthusiasts, upgrading to 235/85/16 tires along with a lift boosts off-road capability immensely. Some say brake pads and rotors from a Defender 90 are a do-able upgrade as well.

To clear bigger tires, what’s referred to as a “Camel Cut” might be necessary. This mod gets its name from the Discovery 1 Camel Trophy cars; the rear fenders (or “wings”) are cut/trimmed a bit to allow more space for tires under articulation. This forum post describes it, as well as other clearance solutions, very well.

Key Technical Details

Engines:

1994-1995; 3.9-liter pushrod V8 – 182 horsepower, 232 pound-feet of torque

1996-1998; 4.0-liter pushrod V8 – 182 horsepower, 233 pound-feet of torque

Transmissions: Four-speed ZF 4HP22 automatic; five-speed manual

Drivetrain: Permanent four-wheel drive, two-speed transfer case with high and low, manual center-locking differential

Suspension: Solid front axle, radius arms and Panhard rod, solid rear axle, trailing links and central A-frame, coil springs with dampers, power-assisted worm-and-roller steering

Wheelbase: 100 in; 2540 mm

Overall length: 178.7 in; 4539 mm

Curb weight: 4,465 pounds (2025 kg)

OEM tire size: 235/75/16

Angles: Approach: 31 degrees, Departure: 25 degrees, Breakover: 27 degrees, Climbing: 24 degrees, Traversing: 30 degrees

Fluids, Filters, and Capacities

Fuel: 91 Octane

Battery Size: 072 580CCA

Engine Oil: 7 quarts, change every 3,000-5,000 miles. Enthusiasts recommend conventional 20W-50, especially anything with ZDDP (zinc additive). This is normally pretty expensive oil; enthusiasts also say that conventional Shell Rotella 15W-40 diesel oil is also a great choice. Diesel oil is great because its full of detergents to help clean out the sludge that easily accumulates in these very, very basic engines… though of course we have to qualify any recommendations outside factory spec with “consult an expert/priest/mechanic before changing your vehicle’s oil diet.”

Oil Filter: OEM ERR3340, change with oil, enthusiasts also say that Mahle is a great OEM-or-better brand, and that the copper O-ring gasket (OEM ETC7398) and drain plug (OEM 603659) should be replaced as well.

Air Filter: OEM ESR1445, replace every 30,000 miles

Cabin Air Filter: OEM STC738G, and its actually accessed via under the hood, replace every 15,000 miles

Automatic Transmission Fluid: 8 quarts, enthusiasts recommend Pennzoil Dex, replace every 30,000 miles

Manual Transmission Oil: 3 liters, OEM STC9158 MTF94

Transfer Case Oil: 3 quarts of 75W90R GL5 Fluid, enthusiasts recommend OEM LRN7591

Transmission Filter: OEM RTC4653, companies make convenient kits, replace with ATF

Differential Oil: 4 quarts of Castrol Axle Limited Slip 80W-90, plus 2 bottles of Britpart Swivel Housing Grease STC3435, replace every 30,000 miles

Coolant: 5 gallons, enthusiasts recommend any green 50/50 mix, change every 30,000 miles, enthusiasts recommend flushing the radiator every 12 months

Power Steering Fluid: 2 quarts, enthusiasts recommend any quality ATF, change every 30,000 miles

Brake Fluid: 4 x 500ml bottle of any quality DOT4 or DOT5, change every 75,000 miles

Clutch Fluid: Same as brake fluid

Spark Plugs: 8 X ERR3799, replace every 30,000 miles

Serpentine Belt: OEM ERR5579, replace every 75,000 miles

Fuel Filter: OEM STC1677, companies offer quality retrofit kits, replace every 45,000 miles

Factory Service Manuals

Fortunately, a PDF of the original RAVE manual (not sure why it’s called that…) is available all over the internet, such as here.

Otherwise, hard copies are pretty easy to find at all fine booksellers, as well as on eBay.

Other References and Resources

There are several Facebook groups dedicated to the Disco 1, though beware: like all Facebook owners groups, researching for pertinent info can be tedious.

Otherwise, there are several forums that are a wealth of information, such as DiscoWeb.org, LandRoverForums.com, LandRoversOnly.com, and more.

Our editor Andrew Collins recommends a hard copy of You And Your Land Rover Discovery if you want some nicely illustrated light reading. “Effectively superseded by the internet but still fun to flip through,” he says.

Professional Reviews

“1997 Land Rover Discovery Review” (Edmunds.com)

Staff at Edmunds had good things to say about its off-road-centric design.

“Legendary off-road capabilities help make the aluminum-bodied Discovery an attractive choice, augmented by safety equipment. If you expect to drive mainly around the suburbs rather than through the woods, the Discovery’s high center of gravity and short wheelbase could be a drawback. The fact that a Discovery can ford a stream up to 19.7 inches deep isn’t exactly a benefit when its primary duties involve driving to the office or the mall. In urban America, the Discovery is all about prestige, and it doesn’t come cheaply or conveniently. We recommend the Discovery for off-road use, but most consumers will want a different truck to haul the Little Leaguers in.”

“1995 Land Rover Discovery – Where Brawn Meets Luxury: The 4×4 Upper Class” (Motor Trend, June 1995)

Scott Killeen at Motor Trend had generally good things to say as well, seconding the Discovery as more off-road than suburban street.

“The long-travel, four-wheel coil-spring suspension follows in Land Rover tradition with plush, pothole-absorbing comfort. However, at a towering 77.4 inches, the Discovery’s stance emphasizes body lean in corners, despite the best efforts of its front and rear anti-roll bars.

Inside, the Discovery is roomy, comfortable, and includes some nice extras, such as overhead rear storage nets and raised rear seating for better passenger visibility. However, demerits came from some puzzling ergonomic and fit-and-finish decisions, including hard-to-access seatback adjustment knobs, flimsy moonroof covers, no redline indicator on the tach, and cupholders that are too shallow for use while driving.

The Discovery isn’t cut from the usual SUV mold, making it a turn-off to some and attractive to others. What some call quirky, others call personality. Either way, the Land Rover offers a lot of ability and features in a distinctive package that’s proving to be quite popular.”

MotorWeek did a video on the Discovery when it came to the USA, check it out!

Owner Reviews

Andrew P. Collins (Car Bibles Editor-In-Chief)
1996 SE7 Manual; mostly stock; owned four years/about 40,000 miles

I had a manual-shift D1 all through college and it had a weirdly huge influence on my life. Should I talk about that, or the truck itself? OK, fine, twist my arm and we’ll do both.

In 2006 nobody had Instagram; Facebook was barely a thing and even Craigslist was still pretty novel. The overland craze that car culture’s still drunk on as I write this was over a decade away but I was really into the idea of going on safari. I was also headed to school in Vermont, so I unloaded my RX-7 and started looking for something that could roll through the elements. My girlfriend at the time was housesitting for some wealthy neighbors of ours in the Boston suburb I grew up in, and in addition to free use of their vast house, they tossed her the keys to a ’90s Discovery.

I thought it was the coolest thing ever, started eating up Land Rover’s marketing material and became a brand fanboy overnight. No, like, I bought a pith helmet with no sense of irony (it would later live in the back of my own Discovery) and all the LR merch I could scrounge up. As for getting actual Rover of my own, well, I simply had to. Discos are still pretty cheap, but in the mid-00s they were basically worthless. This was at the height of horrid reliability ratings and almost the nadir of deprecation; I found a ’96 SE7 in tan-on-white with the options I’d been fantasizing about (dual sunroofs, jump seats, manual transmission) in absolutely spectacular condition with less than 60,000 miles on it for about $3,000.

My dad was skeptical (“you sure you don’t want a 4Runner?”) and in some ways he was right, early T4Rs were cheap then too and that probably would have been easier to look after. But I was fully bought into the Britishness and refused to be dissuaded. I ended up learning a decent amount about cars by necessity keeping that thing running (some upside to unreliability!) spending a fortune on fuel (no upside there) and being occasionally recognized around UVM’s campus as the “safari truck guy.”

Nowadays days there’s probably a light bar, roof rack, and externally mounted tools on every other SUV up there. But circa 2008 people thought I was straight-up Nigel Thornberry with all the accessories bolted to my machine. I leaned into it of course, and took every opportunity to cut across grass or pull friends-of-friends cars out of snowbanks with my recovery gear. I had so much fun playing safari that I ended up moving to Australia to do some real off-roading after college, and that decision pretty much led me down the path that got me here.

As for the truck itself, well, let’s see… I remember thinking the transmission was broken because it was so noisy. A mechanic who’d been servicing my RX-7 took my Disco for a test drive and just laughed; “nope, it’s just a truck, this is what it’s supposed to feel like.”

The seats were firm but comfortable, cabin was wonderfully open and airy, and the cockpit ergonomics were absolutely perfect. I’ll never forget how nicely my left elbow hung on the window sill while my right rested on the console. “Weren’t any hands on the steering wheel,” you ask? Sometimes. The Disco wandered wherever it wanted to.

Despite the Rover reputation, I never had any disastrous malfunctions. But the truck did like to frustrate me with a thousand paper cuts of little issues that were often annoyingly expensive to fix. I don’t have the receipts anymore, but I feel like I remember being quoted something like $800 for a brake master cylinder. I vividly remember having to buy some stupid hose for $70 because of its odd shape and material design. Once the power seat switch broke and needed to be rebuilt, I tried to do it and the thing exploded, flinging little metal pieces everywhere. Guess who needed a whole new seat switch?

I really loved that truck and even after four years of many niggles, I was sad to cut it loose. Worth it though – I sold it to fund my 2011 Australia trip. I just wish I’d been able to do some real off-roading in it; the northeast is pretty unfriendly to wheeling for better and worse. Considering how expensive 4Runners and Land Cruisers are, I would definitely suggest looking at D1s if you want to mess around with an overland build or off-road SUV.

What They’re Worth Now

Own or owned one of these and want to share your thoughts? Hit up in the comments or email contact@carbibles.com!

The prime example: Currently, it looks as though well-taken care of, well-optioned, low-mileage, clean examples can fetch as much as $25,000, but that includes BaT tax. Especially if they’re equipped with a manual transmission.

A very clean driver: $7,000-$10,000 will get you a Rover with good amenities, that’s very clean and taken care of. Mileage might be a bit high, but if its got service records that’s not a big deal.

An honest car: $4,000-$6,000 is range of where overall good-driving examples live. It might need a little work, and might be higher mileage, but in general its clean enough and doesn’t have any major issues. Certain off-road modifications might be included that make up for faded paint or body damage.

The budget option: $2,000-$4,000 seems to be the asking price of a Disco that needs a big repair or two, or has a bunch of electric issues. Paint might be roached, and expect rust underneath.

A roach: $2,000 or less could find someone a project that’s not for the faint of heart, and is happy to have a blank canvass.

Where to Find One for Sale

It seems like Disco 1s seem far more rare on conventional online classifieds like AutoTempest.com than Disco 2s.

Enthusiast groups are a good source for clean, well-taken care of runners, as well as various online auction sites.

Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace seem to have the most listings, but as always, do your due diligence.

What to Ask a Seller

Go-to questions should include:

“What sort of oil has been used?”

“Have the head gaskets been changed?”

“Has it ever overheated?”

“When was the water pump and thermostat last replaced?”

“Does it drink coolant?”

“Does it stay in the middle of the coolant temperature sensor in all driving scenarios?”

“Has the steering system been serviced?”

“Are there any shakes, rattles, or creaks when going over bumps and steering?”

“When was the last time the axle and transfer case oil was changed?”

Competitors to Consider

The off-road ready used car market is pretty stacked, with brand preference and enthusiast-hype tax being two of the biggest factors. A Toyota Land Cruiser of similar vintage and condition will cost significantly more than a Disco 1, but a Jeep will cost the same or less. These are great choices, as well as: the Mitsubishi Montero, Isuzu Trooper, Toyota 4Runner, Lexus LX and GX, Ford Bronco, and more.

The Discovery’s platform-mates should also be considered, though pricing can be significantly higher. The Range Rover Classic typically goes for a bit more money, and the NAS Defender goes for significantly more money, and imported, legal Defenders can be tough to register.

The Discovery 2 should also be considered, though enthusiasts seem to agree that they’re harder to work on and less reliable than the Discovery 1.

Photo Galleries

FavCars.com and Media.LandRover.com have tons of original press material photos!

Pop Culture References

While many celebrities have owned Defenders and Range Rovers (mostly of the newer variety), it’s hard to tell which, if any, famous people have owned a Discovery.

Disco 1s have been on-screen a bunch in European TV shows and film, according to IMCDb.org, whether in the background or driven by characters. However, it looks like they’ve never had any kind of significant screen time in American movies and TV.

In It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, the character Dennis Reynolds (played by Glenn Howerton) famously drives a ’90s Range Rover, in fact it’s a plot point of several episodes. But in the show’s second season they use a Disco 1 in the same color. Since it doesn’t seem to be acknowledged, it’s likely this was just a production oversight.

There are also some Discovery 1s in the near-background of the 1999 James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough; they’re not quite henchman vehicles but wearing corporate livery in some scenes.

Enthusiast Inquiries

Every car has a collection of common questions that pop up in forums and Facebook groups whenever new blood joins in. We hope a lot of those have been answered above, but here are some Land Rover Discovery 1 FAQs we wanted to dig into.

“Do you really need to run premium gas?” The short answer is yes – every forum member seems to swear by it. Most owners say some version of “the engine computer retards the timing to prevent pre-detonation when it senses low-grade fuel” and report that lower grades just return worse fuel economy anyway, wiping out the savings you might get at the pump.

“What’s this ticking under the hood?” This could be a myriad of things. It’s best to get a stethoscope to help track it down, as well as note when the ticking occurs. Is it present at cold idle and then gets louder as temperatures warm up? Does it only occur when the engine is hot?

“How do I tighten up the steering?” Discovery Is have classic, vague steering. There’s a bolt on top of the steering box that can tighten it up, but it’s also important to check the condition of the various steering and suspension components under the hood.

“Why’s this thing run so hot?” Discovery Is need as much help as possible with cooling. Radiators need yearly flushing, and even then wear out and clog faster than usual.

Downloadable Paperback Car Bible (Coming Soon)

If you’re old school and like to keep reference notes on paper, or you’re just a completionist and want a free accessory for your Discovery 1, you’ll be able to download and print out a Paperback Car Bible soon.

Think of it like an owner’s manual supplement. Keep it in your car and your days of waiting for slow internet on your phone at the auto parts store are over!

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