1997 Land Rover Discovery 1 - Super Clean, Well Maintained Daily Driver

After about a year of enjoyment, I'm ready to pass along my Disco to a new owner that will hopefully properly enjoy it off of the pavement. Despite my best intentions I was never able to make time to properly exercise it. The Craigslist ad text is below, most of this will be pretty simple stuff for those familiar with Land Rovers. Very clean inside, lots of recent maintenance, just needs a new driver.


Summary: 1997 Land Rover Discovery 1 LSE, 4.0L V8, automatic, full-time 4wd with locking center differential, 108,000 miles, gold over tan leather, very clean and well maintained, $5950 OBO.

This 1997 Land Rover Discovery 1 is in excellent condition, its been my daily driver for nearly a year and I've maintained it as such. The truck is nicely equipped with power windows, power locks, power mirrors, automatic dimming rear view mirror, keyless entry, factory anti-theft, heated front seats, dual power moonroofs, factory stereo with 6-CD changer, dual power front seats, Discovery 2 cupholders, dual zone climate control, ice cold A/C, rear fog light, driver and passenger side airbag, and cruise control. Every electrical accessory works and works well. On the outside it has slightly oversized 245/75 16 (approximately 32") Goodyear MTR tires on good condition "deep dish" Land Rover OEM wheels, Old Man Emu medium springs, Bilstein shocks and steering stabilizer, engine block heater, and Hella lights mounted on the front bumper.

Mechanically this Land Rover is in excellent condition. Because it has been my daily driver I have over maintained it, taking care of a number of items as preventative maintenance as well as repairing anything that was not working correctly. Major items that I have addressed: Optima red top battery, Old Man Emu springs and Discovery 2 rubber spring seats, both power seat switches, replaced all bad bulbs in the cluster and switches, alignment, fuel filter, cleaned MAF and throttle body, PCV hose, new clock, ignition switch, all wiper blades, removed and resealed both front and rear sunroofs (no leaks!), and a front sunroof motor. The previous owner was an engineering student and aircraft mechanic, shortly before my purchase he replaced the radiator, water pump, thermostat, spark plugs, plug wires, fan clutch, serpentine belt, CV joints, front wheel bearings, Silverstar headlight bulbs, new fluid in the front/rear differential, new fluid in the transmission, new coolant tank, air filter, and a new temperature sensor. Bottom line - this Discovery is a great driving and reliable truck that has served me very well, in nearly a year it has never failed to get me to work. The engine starts and runs great, there is no vibration in the steering or driveline, the transmission shift smoothly and doesn't slip, the brakes work well with no vibration, and everything works. Whether you buy mine or not, if you buy a Land Rover DON'T buy one with an unknown maintenance history. These are really great trucks, but a neglected one is an expensive proposition.

Inside is excellent as well as the carpet is nearly perfect, there are no dash cracks, and all of the leather is still supple. Carpets are protected by Lloyd's Rubbertite custom fit floormats in the front, rear, and cargo area. Tinted windows and sunroof panels help keep things cool in the summer. Everything works exactly as it should, not always the case in an older car. As you can see from the pictures this is a great looking truck from the outside, the paint has a great shine and the body is very straight. While not perfect (see below) it is a great looking truck.

I specifically purchased an older Discovery 1 because I was looking for a reliable, simple, and fun to drive "real" SUV. The Discovery is a rare truck as it rides very well around town but can also take you as far off of the beaten path as you want to go. The appeal of an older Discovery is the lack of complicated electronics like you would find in a newer Discovery 2, the Discovery 1 has a simple pushrod 4.0L V8 derived from a Buick design, simple but effective GEMS fuel injection, locking center differential (not available in all Discovery 2 years), rugged and simple suspension, and fewer gizmos to break. I formerly owned an FJ80 Land Cruiser that I absolutely adored, but frankly the Discovery does nearly everything better. It's comfortable around town and will cruise at 75 MPH on the highway all day long but retains the same off road ability. Thanks to the new old Man Emu springs and the Bilsteins, it rides better around town than a stock Discovery and is more capable off-road as well. Most importantly to me, it has a lot of character. If you are not the type to drive what everyone else drives, and you don't like boring vehicles, this is the truck for you.

My Discovery is in excellent condition, but as you would expect from an older vehicle it is not perfect. I am an anal-retentive engineer and car enthusiast, in the interest of honesty and full-disclosure here are the issues as I see them. I am very picky, many of these issues don't show up in pictures.
-Rust - nearly every Land Rover has it. My Discovery has it in the common location of the inside rear door corners. It has not penetrated and could be touched up and stopped with POR15, because it isn't serious I hadn't messed with it. Also small rust spots near the upper rear "Alpine" window seal and inside the front door jamb. NONE of this rust is significant or noticeable from the outside, it doesn't detract from the appearance. The truck is very dry underneath with only light surface rust as you'd find on any vehicle, NO penetrating frame rust.
-Leaks - another common Land Rover issue. I have a couple of small drips, I believe it to be engine oil and power steering fluid. Maybe on the order of 4-5 drips while sitting overnight. Important to note that I never have to add fluid, they are very small leaks.
-ABS - the early Discovery, like many early ABS cars, had a system that just wasn't very good. Operation was difficult to predict and sometimes engaged at random times, making the system at times borderline unsafe. The ABS fuse has been pulled and the bulb removed from the ABS warning light, so the truck currently has non-ABS power brakes. Important to note, this is exactly like the truck was never equipped with ABS. Braking power is very good, significantly better than my old Land Cruiser.
-Cosmetic - Wear to front leather dye, the seats are soft and supple but the dye is wearing from the seats. No holes or significant wear on the leather, they can pretty easily be re-dyed with a DIY kit. Several small nicks in the left rear lower inside door panel. The paint has great color and shine with no fade but has fine scratches on the sides. Overall the body is very straight but there are a couple of small and shallow dents on the hood.
- Misc - emergency brake is not working, it's an automatic so I don't use it anyway. Headlight and back window washer squirters aren't working, I didn't miss them. 4wd high and low engage properly with the differential both locked and unlocked, but the center differential lock light does not illuminate. The sensor that engages the light commonly moves such that it doesn't engage, I assume this is what has happened. No impact to 4x4 operation. The horn is not currently working, it makes me a more polite driver.
-Tires - it currently has Goodyear MTR tires on it that are in great condition, but as mud tires they do whine at highway speeds. Because they are slightly oversized tire they can also slightly rub on the fender liners when turning the wheels to full lock.
-Headliner - the Discovery is notorious for sagging headliners, as the roofline is pretty complicated and difficult to glue the fabric to. Several owners ago the headliner cloth was removed from my Discovery and the headliner board painted to match the interior. If you like a cloth headliner this is a negative, but I saw it as a plus as I would never have to worry about my headliner sagging.

As I stated before, this is a great looking and driving truck that has been lovingly maintained by an enthusiast. I purchased it to have a capable truck to drive through the winter, and despite our lack of ice or snow it has served me well as a fun daily driver. I will soon be purchasing a 4x4 truck to improve my hauling ability, and as such will no longer need the Discovery. I'm asking $5950 OBO for this great truck. My email is jessup3 at cox.net, or call me at 316-680-1748. I have 61 photos available by email as well as all maintenance records in an Excel file, both available upon request. Clean and clear KS title in hand and ready to sell. Thanks for looking!











Thanks. It's also worth noting that the price is OBO. I'm not desperate to sell, but it's taking up garage space that I need for my 1970 Mustang project.


I wish I had bought your Disco now and not mine! Coming from a Disco owner this guy really has put together a very good, clean truck here! Good luck!

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