In the mid 1980s, a new Land Rover model was being designed under the code name Project Jay, subsequently named Discovery
The introduction of this new model to the Land Rover stable was very timely for the future of Land Rover, when the influx of Japanese SUVs was selling well. The Discovery sat between the rather agricultural Land Rover Defender and the upmarket Range Rover. It came on the market as a 3-door estate, in 5 or 7-seat configuration, and it was an instant success.
With the first Discoverys that came off the assembly line now 30 years old, it is perhaps timely to make sure that the first few hundred that were sold, are not forgotten, and hopefully some saved for posterity. Number one is stored at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon.
There is now a fifth generation of Discovery, the New Discovery (code number L462).
In 2007, a few owners of these early cars met at the formerly named Heritage Motor Centre, and formed a group called the Project Jay Preservation Group. They started the search for the G registered cars that were used at the Press and Dealer launch at Plymouth in 1989.
At the Plymouth launch there were 86 cars, all with consecutive registration numbers from G451WAC to G537WAC, enthusiast call them “gee-wacks”.
The group have found 22 launch cars that are still “alive”; together with several other factory registered G-WACs that were used in the factory demonstration fleet, and as test cars. They have a website at www.pjpg.co.uk
Members of the PJPG own two pre-production 5-door models that were under test in 1989/90. G226EAC is in very good order and is exhibited at Land Rover shows, G513DHP has been sympathetically repaired, and will be on our stand. They were both shown at the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show at the NEC in March this last year (2018)
For more information about these factory registered demonstration cars, and the chance to join the group with your Project Jay Discovery, please contact our membership Secretary Graham Bethell. firstname.lastname@example.org
Discoverys to be displayed:
Description - One of the 22 surviving cars, which were part of the 86 cars available for test at the 1989 Press and Dealer launch, which took place at Plymouth in November 1989. A 7-seat version in Marseilles Blue, fitted with the newly developed in the 1980s, 2.5 turbocharged diesel engine.
Condition - Not yet restored but sympathetically repaired. Has been featured in the Land Rover press on numerous occasions.
Description - G130KWO is an early 1990 production car with a 200 Tdi diesel engine.
Condition - Has recently had a ‘body off’ restoration but there are still a few jobs to be completed.
Decription - A test mule, registered in April 1989 as a Rover when on test.
Condition - Registered with a 1985 C registration and fitted with what looked like a van body, to confuse the spying press.
Description - The Discovery was launched as a 3-door in 1989, but the 5-door was already on test. Fitted with a 3.5 V8 petrol injection engine. The production cars were fitted with the carburettor version.
Condition - Not yet been restored but sympathetically repaired.
Description - A Honda Crossroad, a Japanese import. In the 1980s Rover/Triumph and Honda collaborated with the design of saloon cars, the Honda Concerto and Ballade were badged as Rovers and Triumphs for the UK market. Honda did not produce a 4x4 at the time, so Discoverys were badged as a Honda Crossroad for the Japanese market. This is a rare car in the UK.
Condition - is undergoing some preservation work. The boot floor and the sills have been repaired and the rear bumper is in need of a tidy up