Featured 2004 Land Rover Discovery Series II – Ain’t No Status Symbol Patrick Vuong March 8, 2012 Join the Conversation This Land Rover Discovery Series II Looks Like a Luxury Vehicle, But Can Ride as a Hardcore Off-Road Truck or a Mean Bug-Out Rig Photography by Henry Z. De Kuyper The image of the Land Rover as one of the preeminent off-road rigs has somewhat faded in mainstream American consciousness. Instead of recalling gritty photos of European soldiers driving the Series IIA in war-torn landscapes, or of hunters wheeling the civilian versions on African safaris, most Americans these days think of Land Rover as nothing more than a luxury vehicle. You can thank Victoria Beckham and all those trophy wives, Hollywood celebrities, and bubblegum pop singers for that. Well, it's time to take back the brand from all those yuppies, who wouldn't know a leaf-spring from a coilover if one smacked them upside their heads. Inspired by the Willys Jeep of World War II, the Land Rover was born as an all-terrain 4×4 meant to tackle harsh conditions. By the mid-20th century, it was widely used by the British Army and various European forces — and even by the U.S. Army to a limited degree. Today, Land Rovers are used around the world by military and police of numerous countries. Though the 2004 Land Rover Discovery Series II you see in these pages will never see combat, it was definitely built to be an off-road workhorse that any soldier or cop would admire. But perhaps its greatest advantage is that it can easily blend into almost any environment a shooter might find himself in. As a daily driver, this Discovery Series II is discreetly powerful and elegantly clean — like a muscled Daniel Craig in a bespoke fine wool suit. As a 4WD recreational vehicle, it can easily leave the pavement behind to get to an out-of-the-way outdoor range or camping site. And as a bug-out vehicle, there's no doubt it can cut over streams and rocks to get to safer ground when shit hits the fan. RECOIL readers will be pleased to see a Tuffy Tactical Gear Security Drawer installed in the back. Bolted to the truck's frame, this system safely stows firearms, ammo, accessories, and tools (loose items flying around the cabin can be very dangerous) while simultaneously securing the valuables from desperate thieves with a number combination and a traditional key as backup. Underneath the hood, this Land Rover has both the power and the handling to be agile on asphalt and dirt alike, thanks to the parts and accessories — all installed and maintained by Gearheinz Power Service in Duarte, California — that help it match form with function. The Discovery II features a 4.6L V-8 engine, Old Man Emu suspension system and steering damper, Falken WildPeak A/T tires, EBC brake pads and rotors, and MagnaFlow performance exhaust. A South Down 4×4 Products snorkel and a K&N air filter ensure the truck only breathes clean, dry air instead of water from crossing a creek or dust from following in a caravan. If these parts are the guts of the rig, then the body armor is the tough-as-nails skin. Rock-crawling can cause some serious damage to a vehicle's fenders and undercarriage and could even leave one stranded. This Land Rover's rear and front diff guards from QT Services help ward off dents and punctures caused by tall rocks. Likewise, the Atlantic British Rock Slider helps fend off landing damage to your doorsill after climbing steep rocky terrain. Meanwhile, limb risers from Bush Cables help keep low-hanging tree branches from smashing into the windshield. ARB's Sahara Bar front bumper provides hardcore protection while accepting the factory airbag sensors, turn signals, and fog lamps, which helps maintain the Disco's overall stock look. The Terrafirma Heavy-Duty Rear Bumper with Swivel Recovery Eyes incorporates that OEM aesthetic while offering sturdy, easy-access winching points. And speaking of recovery, the Warn M8000 winch is rated to pull 8,000 pounds, giving the Land Rover the ability to get unstuck and help other vehicles out of precarious positions, as well. If you're looking to build a bug-out vehicle based on a Land Rover, consider this truck your template. With very little flash, but a whole lot of functionality, this Discovery Series II is prepped for any duty, be it daily driving, four-wheeling, or bugging out. It proves that the Land Rover legacy as a reliably rugged off-road rig still lives — yuppies and their status symbols be damned. Wheels Sturdy and light, these standard steel wheels do their job well at a great price. This set features a custom powdercoat. Make: Atlantic British Model: 16×7 Steel Matte Black MSRP:$110 each URL: www.atlanticbritish.com Tires Positive traction is everything on and off the road. Climbing over rocks and other obstacles can get slippery and even damage tires, leaving you stuck. Falken WildPeak A/T tires are all-terrain, meaning they can go the distance with confidence over a variety of rocks, dirt, mud, water, and snow. Make: Falken Model: WildPeak A/T Size: LT265/75R16 MSRP: $197 each URL: www.falkentire.com Front Bumper ARB's Sahara Bar not only provides protection from off-road elements, but also maintains the OEM look. It accepts the factory airbag sensors, turn signals, and fog lamps. Make: ARB Model: Sahara Bar MSRP: $1,414 URL: www.arbusa.com Auxiliary Lighting (Front Bumper) Bugging out won't get you far if you don't have the vision to see where you're going. These forward-mounted driving lamps enhance road visibility in terms of both reach and beam pattern width. Make: PIAA Model: 520 Ion Yellow Driving Halogen Lamp Kit MSRP: $329 URL: www.piaa.com Fog Lamps These lights feature a widespread light pattern that helps light up the surrounding area forward of the truck. This increases peripheral vision when driving in extremely dark areas. Make: PIAA Model: 510 SMR Fog Xtreme White Plus Halogen Lamp Kit MSRP: $299 URL: www.piaa.com Winch This Warn M8000 is rated to pull 8,000 pounds, giving this Land Rover the capability to get unstuck and help others out of trouble in a pinch. Make: Warn Model: M8000 MSRP: $650 URL: www.warn.com Winch Isolator This winch isolator keeps the winch hook from rattling. Make: Daystar Model: Winch Isolator, Roller, Red MSRP: $30 URL: www.daystarweb.com Roof Rack This lightweight rack is strong and runs the full length of the roof to maximize storage space. Though this particular model is out of production, a similar rack is now available from a company called Voyager Offroad (www.voyagerracks.com). Make: Safety Devices Model: Series II Highlander High Roof Rack MSRP: $1,330 (discontinued) URL: www.safetydevices.com Auxiliary Lighting (Roof Forward) PIAA's ATP (All Terrain Pattern) lamps project a far-reaching narrow beam pattern for superior visibility at a distance. Having them mounted high on the roof rack provides even more piercing distance. Make: PIAA Model: 510 ATP Intense White ATP Halogen Lamp Kit MSRP: $329 URL: www.piaa.com Doorsill Guard A harsh landing after climbing an especially treacherous rock could damage your doorsill to the point of the door not being able to open. Rock sliders help protect from that sort of damage. Make: Atlantic British Model: Rock Slider MSRP: $599.95 URL: www.atlanticbritish.com Limb Risers These cables are used to deflect low-hanging tree branches over your roof to prevent windshield damage. They also make handy clothes lines when drying your gear at the campsite. Make: Bush Cables Model: Stainless Steel Set MSRP: £40 (about $65) URL: www.bushcables.com Differential Guards Tall rocks can dent and even puncture differential casings. A damaged casing could mean being stuck out in the middle of nowhere. The QT Services front and rear guards help protect these essential parts when on the trail. Make: QT Services Model: Diff Guard (front, rear) MSRP: $120 (front); $120 (rear) URL: www.lucky8llc.com Roof Tent A roof tent makes for a better sleeping environment — it keeps you off the cold (and sometimes wet) ground, while keeping insects and roving animals out. Plus, a higher vantage point helps you see threats approaching from a distance. It takes only minutes to set up and is just as easy to pack up. Make: ARB Model: Series III Simpson Rooftop Tent MSRP: $1,569 URL: www.arbusa.com Awning An awning is a handy thing to have, particularly when the summer sun is harsh or when a rainstorm suddenly hits. It's quick to deploy and doesn't add too much extra weight to your load. Make: ARB Model: Awning 2000 MSRP: $226 URL: www.arbusa.com Fuel Can Fuel is liquid gold when you are far from a source. Always keep some extra when wading deep into no man's land. Make: NATO Model: Jerry Can 20L Military Spec. MSRP: $90 URL: www.amazon.com Water Can Drinking water can be even more valuable than gas. Always have extra on hand for an unexpected emergency. Make: Atlantic British Model: Jerry Can 20L – Metal – Blue MSRP: $45 URL: www.atlanticbritish.com Can Holder Cans full of fluids can be tricky to secure. The Expeditionware holders can be bolted to just about anything. In this case, they are attached to the roof rack. The added security of them being lockable is a plus. Make: Expeditionware Model: Single Jerrycan Holder (EW30) MSRP: $75 URL: www.expeditionexchange.com Insect Net (not pictured) Not everyone thinks of insects until, of course, they've nearly been eaten alive. Keep mosquitos and other flying pests at bay by placing this net on the awning. Make: ARB Model: Mosquito Net 2000 MSRP: $165 URL: www.arbusa.com Auxiliary Lighting (Roof Rear) The rear of the truck features high-mounted lamps, which serve a dual purpose as auxiliary backup lights and as convenient flood lamps for lighting up your campsite or outdoor workspace. Make: PIAA Model: 1500 Back-Up Clear Halogen Lamp Kit MSRP: $229 URL: www.piaa.com Quick Fist Clamps Some shooting ranges require you to bring a shovel for fire concerns. Quick Fist Clamps are an easy, secure way to carry a shovel. Make: Quick Fist Model: Original Quick Fist Clamp MSRP: $11 for two URL: www.endroad.com Rear Bumper Similar to the front bumper, this heavy-duty rear bumper from Terrafirma guards against rocky terrain while incorporating OEM lights. Plus, it comes with sturdy, easy-access recovery points. Make: Terrafirma Model: Heavy Duty Rear Bumper with Swivel Recovery Eyes MSRP: $888 URL: www.lucky8llc.com Cam Can Trail Box You can store recovery straps and other equipment in the Cam Can Trail Box. Make: Daystar Model: Cam Can Trail Box, Complete Kit MSRP: $130 URL: www.daystarweb.com D-Ring Isolators These inserts keep 3/4-inch shackles from tapping against bumpers and other recover points. Make: Daystar Model: D-Ring Isolators, Black MSRP: $10 URL: www.daystarweb.com Exhaust This bolt-on upgrade is said to increase horsepower and torque, in addition to giving the rig a powerful bark. Make: MagnaFlow Model: Stainless Cat-Back System Performance Exhaust MSRP: $590 URL: www.magnaflow.com Weapons/Tool Storage Tucked away and safely stowed, guns and ammunition are stored in this locked security drawer. The drawer slides on smooth bearings that can handle substantial weight. The drawer is configurable with inserts to address a multitude of load outs. The system is bolted to the frame of the truck and features a dual lock system that is accessible with a keyed lock as well as a number combination lock. Shown with optional accessories. Make: Tuffy Model: Tactical Gear Security Drawer (Ford Escape model) MSRP: $1,157 (base price) URL: www.tuffyproducts.com Hard Cases Pelican Storm Cases can hold any mission-essential gear that you need on your trip. In the case of this Land Rover, it's camping equipment, shooting-range supplies, and emergency tools. Make: Pelican Model: Storm Case (various models) MSRP: varies URL: www.pelican.com Tire Deflator (not pictured) When you need get over soft terrain — such as sand, snow, or even tough spots like steep rock faces — this deflator lets you quickly air-down your tires for better traction. Make: ARB Model: E-Z Deflator Kit MSRP: $41 URL: www.arbusa.com Portable Air Compressor (not pictured) Heading into the hills means being able to air up and air down your tires for greater tire traction. Keeping this compressor onboard means never being stuck for lack of tire pressure. Make: ARB Model: Portable High-Performance 12-Volt Air Compressor MSRP: $352 URL: www.arbusa.com Tire Repair Kit (not pictured) When taking the road less traveled, a tire puncture is a definite possibility. This tire repair kit is essential to not being stranded. We suggest everyone learn how to use a kit like this before getting that first puncture. Make: ARB Model: Speedy Seal Tire Repair Kit MSRP: $42 URL: www.arbusa.com Air Filter (not pictured) K&N's air filter replaces the OEM filter and allows for more free-flowing air when compared to the stock filter. More clean air means a more efficient engine. Make: K&N Model: Air Filter MSRP: $51 URL: www.knfilters.com Air Intake A snorkel is a great way to keep the truck running on clean, dry air. The snorkel top can be angled away from especially dusty air when following in a caravan. Make: South Down 4×4 Products Ltd. Model: Discovery 2 Snorkel Unfinished MSRP: £139 (about $224) URL: www.southdown4x4.co.uk Brake Pads Brakes are only as good as the pads they use. The Yellowstuff compound features a wide temperature range and allows strong bite without having to warm up the pads. Make: EBC Model: Yellowstuff Brake Pads MSRP: $161 (front); $123 (rear) URL: www.ebcbrakes.com Brake Rotors All these added upgrades add significant weight to the truck. The heavier it is, the harder it is to stop with its standard brakes. EBC brake rotors and pads help keep all the extra weight manageable at speed on city roads, as well as on steep mountain trails. Make: EBC Model: USR Series Sport Slotted Rotors MSRP: $222 (front); $177 (rear) URL: www.ebcbrakes.com Brake Lines Standard brake lines expand when under braking pressure, leading to less braking power. These steel-braided lines resist expansion so they keep brake pressure optimal. They are also lengthened to account for the raised suspension. Make: Expeditionware Model: Disco2 DOT Brake Hose Kit (front, rear) MSRP: $70 (front); $70 (rear) URL: www.expeditionexchange.com Steering Damper (not pictured) Driving on rough terrain could make your steering jostle about unruly-like. A heavy-duty steering damper helps reduce or eliminate nervous steering, increasing stability on beat-up roads, paved or otherwise. Make: Old Man Emu Model: Steering Damper MSRP: $87 URL: www.arbusa.com Suspension: Shocks (not pictured) Upgraded shocks means your rig can handle more road abuse, which means there are more places you can go to and get to — and that means more places you can shoot. Make: Old Man Emu Model: Nitrocharger Sport Shock Absorbers MSRP: $110 URL: www.arbusa.com Suspension: Springs (not pictured) These springs help lift the truck up a couple of inches in overall ride height. This helps the truck get over obstacles, such as uneven dirt roads, rocks, or road debris. Make: Old Man Emu Model: Medium Load Springs MSRP: $176 URL: www.arbusa.com Explore RECOILweb:Incoming Issue 39, New ProductsLessons from the Glock Operator CourseRECOIL Magazine Issue 49After the Apocalypse: the Last Hot Spot NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOILFor years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included). Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. We'll send you weekly updates on guns, gear, industry news, and special offers from leading manufacturers - your guide to the firearms lifestyle.You want this. Trust Us.