This 1997 Land Rover Discovery 300 TDi is an original Camel Trophy veteran, it was piloted by the Romanian team in the 1997 Mongolia event and it’s now being offered for sale with its original accessories including the kayak and both mountain bikes.
Camel Trophy Land Rovers were all prepared by Land Rover with a range of upgrades specifically for the challenging event, this Discovery has reinforced axles, uprated suspension, a winch, a roll cage, and a number of other improvements.
Fast Facts – A Camel Trophy Land Rover Discovery
- The Land Rover Discovery was first released in 1989 as the British company’s new “modern” four-wheel drive. It was positioned between the Range Rover and Defender in the model line up, and it proved a strong seller.
- As with the earlier Series Land Rovers, the Discovery was designed to be highly capable off-road, but unlike with the Series vehicles it was also designed to be comfortable and easy to use on-road.
- The Land Rover Discovery has now been sold over three major generations over a period of 34 years and counting, and it remains one of the British marque’s most popular models.
- The Discovery you see here is one of 20 that was prepared by Land Rover for the Camel Trophy in Mongolia in 1997, it remains in remarkably original condition throughout and it’s now being offered for sale by Artcurial.
The Land Rover Discovery
In the 1980s Land Rover faced a significant problem. They had the tough Series-based Ninety and One Ten Land Rovers in production, as well as the high-end Range Rover – but nothing in the middle. The Discovery was developed to fill this gap and offer a 4×4 for the middle class, who wanted off-road ability but in a more comfortable package.
Above Video: This is the full hour long documentary about the 1997 Camel Trophy event that took place in Mongolia, over a 2,500+ kilometer course.
The first generation Land Rover Discovery was based on the chassis, suspension, and four-wheel drive system that was already in production on the Range Rover. This vastly reduced development costs and accelerated the project’s timeline.
A new steel body was developed, it had a pair of unusual rear skylights on the side to increase headroom for third-row passengers, and the first examples were released as two-door models only – the more common four-door wouldn’t appear until the next year – 1990.
The Discovery would be offered with a variety of engines including V8s and turbodiesels, both automatic and manual transmissions were available, and the vehicle quickly proved its chops as both an off-roader and as an urban family vehicle.
Land Rover was keen to promote their new model, and as a result many of the Camel Trophy events of the 1990s used the Discovery, to capitalize on the global media coverage that the event attracted.
The early examples of the first generation Land Rover Discovery are now becoming desirable to collectors and enthusiasts, and those vehicles that have survived or been restored are now seeing their values slowly rise.
The Camel Trophy Land Rover Discovery Shown Here
The Land Rover Discovery is a little more special than most, as noted in the introduction it was modified by Land Rover along with 19 other vehicles specifically for the 1997 Camel Trophy event in Mongolia.
As part of this modification process the vehicle was prepared for the serious off-road use it would see, it was given reinforced axles, upgraded suspension, bash plates, a winch, a roll cage, a bull bar, a rear ladder, and a roofrack fitted with four spotlights as well as that famous Camel Trophy shield.
For the Mongolia trip the vehicles all came with a two-person kayak and a pair of mountain bikes, both of which still accompany this vehicle. This is the Discovery that was driven by the Romanian team, one of the 20 national teams that took part.
The event comprised of plenty of off-road driving of course, but there were also kayaking and mountain biking sections. On the first day the cars were all seen off on their way out of Ulaan Baatar by the Prime Minister of Mongolia, who insisted on driving one of the Land Rovers himself.
The Discovery you see here has been remarkably well-preserved after its sojourn in Mongolia, it’s now due to be offered for sale by Artcurtial on the 3rd of February with a price guide of approximately $32,600 – $54,300 USD.
If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Artcurial
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.