SUVs like the G-Wagon, the Porsche Cayenne, and especially Land Rover’s various models are typically reduced to pavement-cruising duty. But all of these luxury SUVs are capable off-roaders in their own right. The Cayenne, for example, has won several long-distance rallies. And this week on Cars and Bids, you have a chance to get a race-proven off-road SUV of your own: a 1992 Land Rover Discovery Camel Trophy.
A classic Land Rover Discovery is still an impressive off-road luxury SUV—and the Camel Trophy proved it
Off-road aficionados are likely familiar with races like the Paris-Dakar, King of the Hammers, as well as the Baja and Mexican 1000s. And while it’s not around anymore, the Camel Trophy deserves the same level of respect.
Automobile describes the Camel Trophy as “the Olympics of 4×4.” It started in 1980 as a 1000-mile trek along the Trans-Amazonian Highway, but the first participants’ vehicles failed to finish. The next year, though, Land Rover brought several modified Discoveries. They proved “brilliantly reliable,” DriveTribe reports. Thus, the Land Rover Discovery became the global face of the Camel Trophy from 1981-2000.
And the Camel Trophy truly was global. Initially a German-only event, in 1982 it opened up to international teams, Hagerty reports. And apart from a break in 1999, the Camel Trophy crisscrossed the world, traveling to places like Guyana, Malaysia, Argentina, Mongolia, and Madagascar, Top Gear and Car and Driver report.
As a result of these expeditions, the Land Rover Discovery became an off-road icon in its own right, Hagerty reports. Hence why, when it finally arrived in the US in 1994, it quickly became a hit, MotorTrend reports. And while the latest Discovery is considerably more luxurious, it hasn’t forgotten its predecessors’ off-road capabilities.
Over the years, Land Rover released several homages to its Camel Trophy entries, MT reports. And numerous Discover owners have undoubtedly created their own tributes. The 1992 Land Rover Discovery currently listed on Cars and Bids, though, isn’t a tribute—it’s a real Camel Trophy competitor.
The 1992 Land Rover Discovery Camel Trophy on Cars and Bids
In the US, the Land Rover Discovery was only available with a V8 engine. The same applied to its redesign, the LR3, and all but the last few model years of the LR4, Automobile reports. However, this 1992 Camel Trophy competitor has a 2.5-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine rated at 111 hp and 195 lb-ft. That goes to a five-speed manual and part-time 4WD with a two-speed transfer case.
Because this 1992 Land Rover Discovery had to cross 1000 miles of Guyana rainforest, it features plenty of appropriate modifications. The SUV features a bumper push bar, a bumper-mounted Warn XD9000 winch, a Mantec snorkel, a roof rack and roof-access ladder, rear lamp guards, and multiple recovery points and hitches. It also has heavy-duty half-shafts, springs, Monroe shocks, aluminum skid plates, and Hella off-road lights. Plus, the roof rack comes with sand ladders, a shovel, and both a pickaxe and a felling ax. And the axles, timing case, and transmission case have breather tubes.
Inside, the 1992 Land Rover Discovery Camel Trophy features a roll cage, two fire extinguishers, a custom-built cargo shelf, and an aluminum center console storage box. The SUV doesn’t have A/C or sound-proofing material and has disabled rear power windows. But it does have dual batteries, an auxiliary voltmeter, and a rally computer.
Although this Discovery only has 18,500 miles on the clock, it is an off-road-racing SUV. Those miles have not been gentle. Cars and Bids notes that the suspension is noisy over bumps, the brakes are soft, and the engine is a bit smoky. Also, it has dry-rotted tires, a scratched and scuffed interior, and several bent/misaligned panels. Plus, it’s forded several rivers and was, to quote, “completely submerged during a training expedition.”
It’s a genuine off-road-racing SUV
As of this writing, this 1992 Land Rover Discovery Camel Trophy is listed on Cars and Bids for $23,500 with three days left in the auction. Considering its condition, that might seem rather high. Especially since the Discovery doesn’t exactly have the best reputation for reliability.
That being said, $23.5K is within the price range for a Land Rover Discovery on Bring a Trailer. And the appeal of the SUVs of this vintage is that they’re still relatively simple to fix, Automobile and Petrolicious report. Also, the last time a Camel Trophy Discovery went up for sale, it was listed at $59K, Road & Track reports.
That makes this SUV a genuine historic bargain.
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