Discovery: Still performing

You could be forgiven for thinking I only currently have eyes for oddball Japanese city cars at the moment, for I seem to have been truly captivated by the Sirion. But there are other vehicles on the ClassicHub fleet, and I still like those too.

The Discovery continues to provide sterling service and is steadily improving as I get on top of its lengthy To Do list. I can’t really describe why I love the Disco so much, but it gives off vibes that just make me happy. This weekend just gone, I headed northwards for my second session of off-roading at Landcraft. I’d visited the site back in August, and a report of that has just been published in the December 2013 issue of 4×4 Magazine. Thing is, I enjoyed it so much that I just had to return!

As I tackled the many bends between our house and Bala, I must say that the Discovery feels very odd to drive after 250 miles in a small, Japanese hatchback. The Disco is heavier to drive, and slightly cumbersome, but still eats the miles effortlessly, with the rev counter rarely rising about 2500rpm – stark contrast to the frenetic three-pot in the Daihatsu.

Once there, I had a splendid time once more. We were joined by Land Rovers of many eras, from a very early Series 1 to a Discovery 3, with all its many electronic aids. The Series 1s looked more fun! Again, my Discovery coped well. Its lack of modifications or aggresive rubber mean line choice and momentum are absolute critical. It’s a very good work out for car and driver.

Series 1 Landies looked great fun

Series 1 Landies looked great fun

In many ways, much of the technology of the Series 1 is still evident on my Discovery. It has similar beam axles (albeit with a change of suspension spring), a similar ladder-frame chassis and fairly simple aluminium bodywork. Both wear skinny tyres too, and traction was certainly an issue at times, for ancient and less-old alike. That’s all part of the fun really. The Discovery 3 seemed to just amble around the course without fluster. It didn’t look half as much fun!

Skinny tyres worked hard in the mud

Skinny tyres worked hard in the mud

The Disco’s towbar took a few knocks, but damage was otherwise only notable by its absence. That’s what I like about Landcraft – it’s designed to be fun but these Adventure Days are gentle enough to easily avoid damage. I’d quite like to tackle one of the Adventure Plus days, but that brings me back to the main problem of recovery points. On the Plus days, it sounds like getting stuck is very possible – though it’s something I always try my utmost to avoid. The Discovery has no front recovery points though, and I’m struggling to find a way to fit any that doesn’t compromise the factory looks. Perhaps I’m going to have to admit defeat and fit a stronger Heavy Duty bumper.

Lack of front recovery points an issue. If you get stuck...

Lack of front recovery points an issue. If you get stuck…

It’s a dilemma for me. I love off-roading in stock vehicles and prefer the lack of on-road compromise that results from it. I don’t want to make my off-roader look butch and menacing. Sadly, if I want to enjoy myself more, it looks like modification is the only way.

Here’s a video of Sunday’s exploits as I have to carefully manage the throttle to avoid wheelspin while still keeping up enough momentum!





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