One Million Discoverys!
Land Rover has produced the one millionth Discovery, so it's sent out a presser to celebrate the fact. The Discovery was a long way behind the competitor cars of the Pajero and the like, but because it was a Land Rover it instantly sold and has stood the test of time. The Discovery II is a reliability shocker, developing a reputation that has rubbed off on the 3 and the 4 which as as reliable as any other equivalent.
There's also a Discovery Timeline supplied by Land Rover, which I've edited to remove some boring bits and add a couple of bits that somehow got left out.
Land Rover Discovery Timeline
1987 - Approval is given to develop a third Land Rover model to sit between the rugged Defender and the luxurious Range Rover, codenamed Project Jay. It is the first Land Rover to be designed in its entirety using CAD technology.
1989 - The Discovery is launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September as a three-door and powered by a state-of-the-art intercooled, direct-injection turbodiesel.
1990 - A five-door version is launched. Both models have light-blue interiors created by the Conran Design Group and which includes a removable shoulder bag, now a collectors’ item.
1994 - The Discovery is facelifted, receiving larger headlamps, additional rear lights, more powerful engines and a stronger manual gearbox. This coincides with Discovery going on sale in the USA.
1995 - Land Rover passes the 100,000 vehicle per year production mark for the first time with the Discovery as the bestseller. In total 392,443 first-gen Discoverys were built.
Somewhere along the line Honda licensed the Discovery - anyone remember that or what it was called?
1998 - The first two production versions of the Discovery Series II are driven round the world and onto the showstand at the Paris Motor Show to launch the new car.
The second generation Discovery sits on the same 100” wheelbase but is longer overall to allow the third row of seats to face forwards. Almost every panel is new and there is a new five-cylinder turbodiesel.
1998 - Three, largely standard, Discovery IIs act as support vehicles in the Paris-Dakar with one actually finishing in 31st place.
1999 - The Discovery becomes the first SUV to introduce twin airbags for front seat passengers.
1999 - Active Cornering Enhancement for the Discovery uses an electronically controlled torsion bar system to reduce cornering roll. Optional self-levelling rear air-springs replace the conventional steel items in some markets.
2001 - The locking centre differential is removed with its functions taken over by the Hill Descent Control and traction control systems. This turned out to be one of Land Rover’s worst design decisions and the centre lock was reinstated in the Discovery IIa under the advertising slogan in Australia “Slip slop slap, difflock is back!” Any Disco without a centre diff lock should have the lever retrofitted.
2003 - The Discovery receives a facelift, gaining the distinctive ‘double’ headlamps to share a family look with the Range Rover and Freelander and is fitted with a larger, 4.6-litre version of the Thor V8 engine from the Range Rover.
2004 - By the end of its production run the Discovery II had become increasingly luxurious while losing none of its ability. The Landmark edition featured a leather interior, twin sunroofs, a CD-changer and heated windscreen. In total 278,570 Series II models are built from 1999-2004.
2003 - Development of the Series III sees 75 prototypes testing across the globe in temperatures ranging from -30 to 50 Centigrade.
2004 - Launched at the New York Motor Show, the Discovery 3 - known as LR3 in the US - features all new Integrated Body Frame construction which combines the benefits of both monocoque and ladder frame chassis. There are manual versions and coil-sprung versions.
2004 - The Discovery 3 features fully independent air-suspension with Land Rover’s innovative cross-linking system which allows for greater off-road agility and is powered by a new twin-turbo 2.7 V6 diesel.
2005 - The Terrain Response system which allows the driver to quickly choose the correct vehicle settings for different off-road conditions wins a ‘Best of What’s New’ Award from US magazine Popular Science.
2005 - The Discovery 3 serves as the basis for a new fourth Land Rover model, the Range Rover Sport.
2007 - The four millionth Land Rover built is a black Discovery 3 and is donated to the Born Free Foundation to act as a Rapid Response Rescue vehicle. In the same year the ‘Road to the Clouds’ expedition takes a fleet of Discovery 3s to 5,000m in Argentina.
2008 - Terrain Response receives a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category.
2009 - The Discovery 3 received more than 100 awards in its lifecycle from countries around the world. A total of 220,057 are built over five years.
2009 - A substantial restyle of the front and rear lights, bumpers and the grille brings the Discovery into line with the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. The front headlamps feature LED Daytime Running Lights.
2009 - A new sequentially turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 diesel delivers fuel economy and CO2 emissions benefits of around 10 per cent while increasing power and torque by approximately a third over the previous 2.7-litre engine.
2009 - Safety systems on the Series IV now include trailer Stability Assist, Tow Assist, Understeer Control, Automatic High Beam Assist and five exterior cameras to aid visibility.
2011 - The six-speed automatic gearbox is replaced with an eight-ratio version offering greater economy and performance while lowering emissions in some markets, but not yet Australia.
2012 - Having picked up more than 50 awards globally the Series IV notches up another Land Rover milestone in March when it becomes the one millionth car to wear the now illustrious Discovery badge.
Here's a video of 23 years of the Discovery: