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2004 Land Rover Discovery Series II – Ain’t No Status Symbol

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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Winch Isolator
This winch isolator keeps the winch hook from rattling.
Make: Daystar
Model: Winch Isolator, Roller, Red
MSRP: $30

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 (
Make: Safety Devices
Model: Series II Highlander High Roof Rack
MSRP: $1,330 (discontinued)

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

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

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)

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)


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Cam Can Trail Box
You can store recovery straps and other equipment in the Cam Can Trail Box.
Cam Can Trail Box, Complete Kit

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

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

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)

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

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.
E-Z Deflator Kit

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

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

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

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)

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)

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)

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)

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

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

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

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