The tail of two Discos - which one to get as my first off-roader/overlanding vehicle?


New member
Hi all,

Long time lurker, first time poster. My wife and I are looking for a vehicle to take camping and use for overlanding trips. Our goal is to tackle the North American portion of the Pan-American Highway in the next few years.

I come from a background in sports cars, currently driving a '13 Subaru WRX hatchback. I'd like to add a 2nd vehicle for taking off-roading and going places my WRX can't quite get to and both my wife and I have fallen in love with the looks, space, and unique charm of Land Rover Discoveries. Being our first foray into off-roading, we're not looking to spend a ton of money, but we've stumbled across two options and we're torn on which to choose.

First off, we found a somewhat rare '95 Discovery with a 5spd manual that is located about 90 min from us. After talking with the owner all day, it sounds to be well taken care of and being somewhat mechanically inclined, the current owner claims to have checked into all of the common problems and found a really solid D1 that he's used for the last 6 months as a winter car in WI. If everything checks out, it's hard to imagine going wrong for $2,500 for a starting point of an expedition build.

On the other end of the spectrum, I just had a lovely chat with the owner of a '01 Land Rover Disco II that has already been well-prepped to tackle the hardest roads imaginable on the Pan-American Highway. Obviously, being newer and having a bunch of work done to it already, it's more expensive, but $6,900 doesn't seem out of line for what is closer to being a turn-key solution to what we want to use it for. The biggest downside is that it's located much farther away in OH and we'd have to fly out, buy it sight unseen and drive it back.

So, my question is, do I start with the simpler and arguably more characterful D1 and save money on the front end to put towards maintenance and building it my way down the road, or am I better off going with a newer, tried and true DII that is more expensive up front but might not need as much later.

Also, are there any inherent advantages to choosing one generation over the other that I should be aware of? I realize neither is going to be particularly reliable without lots of preventive maintenance but is one a better starting point than the other?



...we're not looking to spend a ton of money...
I'll go ahead and stop you right there.

If you're not prepared to spend about $2500 per year to keep one running, walk away now.

By the way, I'd bet that second truck is far from being truly turn-key. And in any event, it looks like it was modified by a twelve-year-old boy.


Expedition Leader
The '95 would be an excellent vehicle to build from. An additional advantage of it, if you live in an emissions county/state, is that it may be completely legal to convert it to diesel if you want to, since it's OBD1.

I have to agree with 454 on the DII.


BUY THE 95 manual D1 ,very relyable4x4 it has the 14 cux ecu and all the kinks are already discovered and plenty of info on the net .

And with the difference you can buy all new stuff to prep your suspension winch roof rack bumpers check Paddock spares best prices ,do not be scared if they are in the UK price plus shipping will better than buying local .


Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
The 95 D1 looks like it could be a nice clean truck and worth further investigation.

As for the D2 you are considering...nope,nope,nope,nope,nope,nope,nope.

Don't get me wrong - I like the 4.6 D2 but that one is, well, I just don't know where to begin.


I will echo everyone else and just say go with the 95, far better to start with a great platform like that and learn what you need to modify (which is honestly very little) vs trying to make that Dii right.


That is a great deal on the 95. Its a rare I'd say.... 95, 5 spd, AND its a SE7. Usually the 5 speeds you see are cloth seats. Knowing how well my 95 is/has been treating me, I'd pick it up without hesitation.

Make sure the cooling system is in fantastic order before you do anything else, then check up on the normal items. Add 2-3" of lift, 235/85-16s, a bumper with a winch, and lockers or LSDs at both ends and you are ready to go.


I own a D2. That D2 is an abomination. What the hell is that thing bolted to the bonnet?:Wow1:

Go the D1 if it's as good as it looks. Remember to drive it before you modify it at all. Seriously drive it. It is probably all you'll ever need for 99.9% of off roading anyway. And you won't look like an absolute tool in a D2 with a bbq and toy shovel bolted to the bonnet in some insane attempt to appear more manly.

A standardised rover will get you much further and in more comfort than you think.

Ps. The real reason to avoid that D2 is the huge weight that's been on the roof for who knows how long flexing and damaging the body/frame. That and it is the most ridiculous D2 I have ever seen. Ever. :)


The D1 Sounds good and well taken care of examples are certainly getting harder and harder to find. That said, depending on how long you expect to keep this truck and your intended use rust is likely to be your biggest concern (not such a big deal if this will be a trail truck that you beat to hell) . The rear wheel arches look like they have some rust. Get underbody pics. Rust on the surface = tip of the ice berg.

Common areas are floor pans, sills, wheel arches, cargo floor, and remember to check the frame.

Good luck- I Love my D1. Simple to work on, fun as hell to drive and very capable in stock form with some good tires.


Busy Fly Fishing
Just echoing all the statements above, especially Stu's. If you're looking to go cheap, your expedition will surely end in disaster.

I can't tell you how much this statement you made scares me
"it's hard to imagine going wrong for $2,500 for a starting point of an expedition build".

It can be VERY WRONG! You need to make sure this truck does not have excessive corrosion like trucks from that area generally do. It is pointless to build up a rusty truck.

Nice 4.2 in it though!


Expedition Leader
The D2 is over priced. It has a $1000 roof rack, $300 winch, crappy Equip bumper $450, and a bunch of tractor lights on it ($50), and a BBQ on the hood.

For the price of the D1 you could add that stuff and still come out ahead.

I have a D2 and it has been pretty reliable. I'm at 163K miles now. Its more reliable than my Range Rover was (less electrical issues and HVAC issues, Brake Accumulators). I blew a headgasket on the D2, but it was a quick weekend fix. On the other hand I have a F350 powerstroke that I have sunk a couple grand into in less than a year. And I still owe money on it.


New member
Welp, just got word that the D1 I posted about sold to someone else. Too slow...

Thanks for all the advice, everyone! Sounds like I should narrow my search down to a clean D1.

The hunt continues...

LR Max

Local Oaf
Check Defender source. A number of well built Discos for sale over there. Just saw a very nicely modded D2 drop down to $4k over there. It isn't in your area but it looks good. If the underside looks good, then that might be her right there.

Just keep searching and keep looking at the LR forums. Decent mildly modified discos come up often. So getting one with a bit of a lift, winch, etc is easy. Yeah the 5 speed is cool but the auto trucks are good and more common. Also the D2 will be a bit more comfortable and the traction control on these trucks is very good (back in the day, it was pretty much magic).

All of that said, for an older rover, ensure you put aside money every month for upcoming unforeseen repairs, etc.


Concur on Defender source, Galen's 5speed D1 is worth taking a look at in the classifieds overs there.

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