This wasn’t the first Discovery to appear on the show, but unlike the last one there was an awful lot of work needed to make it great again.
It had been a long time since a Land Rover Discovery was in the Wheeler Dealers workshop – Series 6, in fact – but with Mike’s own car proving a dependable workhorse it was time for another. He’d found a low-mileage example at a good price, but was it too good to be true?
A friend, Russell, had the V8 model for sale at £4500 but the first inspection revealed a few problems. Damaged paintwork, interior trim issues, a leaking sunroof and corrosion were the obvious ones but during a test drive on private land Mike discovered trouble with the transfer box, too. Still, the engine was strong and it had potential so the deal was done for £4250.
Elvis was definitely a bit disappointed with condition of the interior, and he was a bit concerned about the rust problems, but as ever he was ready to get stuck in and he’d start with a rather big and daunting job.
Removing the body from the separate chassis isn’t a job for the fainthearted. Plenty of hours were needed to disconnect all the various pipes, hoses and electrics and he would also discover that the corrosion was worse than he thought. A rotten body mounting wasn’t good news…
It meant Mike had a very long shopping list when he headed off to see the guys at Britpart, but after spending £900 he had everything needed to get the Disco back on the road. From repair panels to electronics, there was plenty to keep Elvis busy.
And the ace mechanic was getting stuck into one of the problems – the transfer box. Hoping for an easy fix, the first job was inspecting the selector linkage but that seemed fine. A closer look revealed the selector rod inside the box was sticking due to lack of use, and it turned out to be easy after all. That was good news for the budget!
While Elvis got on with sorting out the bodywork issues and getting the body re-united with the chassis, Mike could get the damaged door cards repaired. A company in the Midlands did a fantastic job of matching the colour and expertly repainting the trim for the bargain price of just £85.
There was still work to be done, though, and that involved fixing the leaky sunroof. The broken original part was replaced with a second-hand item, and with the drain tubes cleared, the roof re-installed and the electrics sorted there’d be no more water in the cabin. And with the perished rear screen seal replaced the classic off-roader was finished and ready for testing.
The boys headed off to a beautiful estate in Lincolnshire to put the Discovery through its paces, showing how capable it was of hauling heavy loads. It performed perfectly, and buyer Mike – a serious Land Rover enthusiast – snapped it up for the asking price of £9800.
After one final test to prove that the leaky sunroof was fixed Mike was able to treat Elvis to the nice dinner he’d promised. Saving this troubled Landy had been a big job so after all that work we reckon he deserved it!
Mike says: “These old Discos are fast becoming a real decent classic. Great parts availability, fantastic owners’ clubs and a loyal fan base. As a classic they are also very practical, nothing beats owing a classic car and towing to a show with another classic!
“This landie, with just 16k, was a real find and one that myself and Elvis really enjoyed.
“To show just how capable it was during one of the scenes, where I’m driving it through a muddy bog, the crews Landrover 4 got stuck and I used the older technology of the mark 1 to pull it out of the deep mud.
“Goes to prove that sometimes newer isn’t necessarily better!”
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