Truck Thursday: 1997 Land Rover Discovery XD Diesel 5-Speed

1997 Land Rover Discovery XD Tdi Diesel 5 speed

In my years if writing on this here website, some of you may have noticed that I have unresolved lust for the following kinds of vehicles: Land Rovers, diesels, 4×4, expedition vehicles.

Next week is school vacation week and like often around this time we’re taking a short family trip to Palm Beach, Florida. It’s nice to escape the frozen tundra that is the northeast, see cousins, expose epidermis to some vitamin D, and do nothing. Before each such trip I, like every other man-child gearhead, scour the local destination classifieds for something that may be of interest. Today I found this – a Land Rover with a diesel engine, manual transmission, and one that’s seemingly ready for an expedition. Check, check, check!

There is just one issue…

Ok, there is probably a lot of issues, but bear with me here…

[Source: Miami Craigslist]

1997 Land Rover Discovery XD Tdi Diesel 5 speed rear

From the ad:

1997 Land Rover Discovery XD Tdi Diesel 5 speed – $15500 (Plantation)

Up for sale is my rare 1997 Land Rover Discovery XD that was converted to a 200 Tdi with an LT77 manual 5 speed and LT230 transfer case. A complete donor RHD Diesel Discovery was used and the result was a factory conversion of the complete drivetrain. The 200Tdi engine had just been overhauled prior and that is why the donor car was purchased. During the conversion it received a timing belt and clutch service. The XD has less than 108K original miles on the body and the drivetrain has approximately 97K miles. I drove the truck down without issue from North Carolina to South Florida after purchasing it and averaged 27 MPG. The AC blows cold and was converted to R134. The tires have plenty of tread and the factory spec shocks have 40K miles on them.


After acquiring the XD approximately a 1 1/2 ago I have done the following to the Disco:

-The complete braking system was overhauled to include: calipers, rotors, and pads on all 4 corners.

-The power steering was serviced to include a new pump and hoses. I also purchased a rebuild kit for the steering box to have as a spare.

-I purchased 3 service kits which include air, oil, and fuel filters for future maintenance.

-I replaced all belts, and have an extra set as spares.

-New yellow silicone hoses to the turbo intercooler.

-Replaced the front grille that was cracked.

-New powder coated accessories to include: Front brush guard, rear access ladder, rear light guards, and cup holders.

-I was also able to locate an obsolete NOS Land Rover yellow “Discovery” decal for the front brush guard.

*Most of the items were purchased from England and shipped to my home.

Land Rover introduced the Special Edition Discovery XD with AA Yellow paint, subdued wheels, SD type roof racks, and a few other off-road upgrades directly from the factory. Produced only for the North American market, the Special Vehicles Division of Land Rover created only 250 of these bright yellow SUV’s. It is believed that only 150 XDs are still in existence and I believe that only two have been converted to diesel TDIs. The truck retains all original equipment- skids, wheels, seat covers, rack, etc. are present. The interior is very clean and it looks like the seat covers have never been taken off. The headliner is sagging in places as all Discovery’s suffer from. The XD is not a show truck and has some dings and scratches, but overall is an awesome truck and is as close to a factory original Camel Trophy as one can get here in the States!

1997 Land Rover Discovery XD Tdi Diesel 5 speed engine

Old Discoveries are in abundance, $4000 probably buys a decent one that will require only $4000 of work and is guaranteed to perform reliably for 5/60 – five feet and sixty seconds. Any used car will require some work, so we should consider $2000 a standard donation towards any car older than five years and 70,000 miles.

The owner of this Disco is asking $14,000, however. That money gets you the following:

  • The X Factor of having a limited edition yellow Disco.
  • The X Factor of having a Disco with a proper transmission (available in U.S. those years).
  • The X Factor of having a Disco with a OEM-like 200 Tdi swap.
  • Better fuel economy and potentially increased reliability but more limited part availability.

Let’s say that this is a mint, rust-free, limited edition,  chassis. Let’s say that it’s got all the desirable options and/or lacks the undesirable ones (dual sunroofs). Let’s say that it’s all OEM with all the weak points properly updated – it would still sell for no more than $7000 or $8000 max with the U.S.-spec 3.9-liter V8. Is the diesel worth almost $10,000?

1997 Land Rover Discovery XD Tdi Diesel 5 speed interior


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