For reasons I don’t fully understand, a beautiful, green, manual transmission, non-running, 1995 Land Rover Discovery has taken up residence in my backyard. And after looking at this British off-roader closely, I think I’ve fallen in love.
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s automobile” is the most basic of automotive commandments, but I’m afraid I’ve just broken it, dooming myself to vehicular hell (which, in case you were wondering, is just an eternal road trip at 129km/h in a buzzy compact car in desperate need of an overdrive gear). But you’d understand my sin if you had this incredible green siren luring you from just outside your window:
It’s a 1995 Land Rover Discovery in the perfect colour both inside and out (it has a tan interior!), and with the perfect transmission — a five-speed manual.
Under the hood is a 3.9-litre V8 that apparently doesn’t work.
I say “apparently,” because this Discovery belongs to my old friend from high school, Justin, who rather cryptically asked me a few months ago if he could dump his Discovery off at my house. He’d recently left his residence in North Carolina to start a masters program in Minnesota, and since the $3,000 Land Rover Discovery that he’d recently purchased was now kaput for reasons unknown, and he didn’t have space to put it in his college town in MN, he asked me for a favour.
Also, he sent me the photo below, which, if we’re honest, would have convinced any sane car enthusiast to agree to this rather odd arrangement. Seriously, look at how perfect this Disco is:
That’s about the extent that I know about this car — it belongs to my friend, it broke somehow (I don’t have the details), my friend didn’t have the space to store it in his new residence, and now I’m taking it in as an automotive refugee.
The paint really is as nice as it looks in these pictures, and the body is, overall, in decent shape, with not much visible rust, though I haven’t inspected the underbody yet.
I did check the oil in the 3.9-litre V8, and it looked alarmingly gelatinous. Between that and all the strange oil additives in the back of the vehicle, I’m a bit concerned. Something tells me that, when I try to fire this old Rover V8 up, it’s going to sound terrible.
Since Justin is my good friend, I’m happy to help mend this fabulous off-roader from Solihull. Justin will fly into Detroit every now and then, and we’ll get to work bending wrenches on whatever is wrong with this gorgeous machine. Based on the little he’s told me, the motor — which has about 273,588km on it — likely needs a rebuild.
I’ve already got a vehicle that needs its V8 rebuilt, my 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, so this winter may turn my garage into a V8 Motor Rebuild Fest, which honestly sounds pretty exciting. Who knows, once we’ve revived these two big V8 4x4s, maybe we’ll put them head-to-head on some sort of epic off-road journey.
This article was originally published 16/9/2019.