UK: MOTOR MOUTH - A disappointing discovery.

UK: MOTOR MOUTH - A disappointing discovery. - The Land Rover Discovery is 10 years old. Driving an early model, I attracted huge interest: passers-by were curious and friends nagged to try it. You'd be surprised how few cars that can be said of. Land Ro

by STEPHEN BAYLEY, an author and design consultant.

The Land Rover Discovery is 10 years old. Driving an early model, I attracted huge interest: passers-by were curious and friends nagged to try it. You'd be surprised how few cars that can be said of. Land Rover is as much a part of English Heritage as Bolsover Castle and people wanted this novelty to succeed. As retailers became aware of the selling power of Englishness, the Discovery was a clever confection, which looked backwards as well as forwards.

The original 1948 Land Rover was an inspired lash-up, a Solihull copy of the American Jeep. The Range Rover of 1970 that followed was a brilliantly intuitive design with agenda-setting styling and a bizarre, but effective, synthesis of agricultural equipment with Sloaney refinement. True, Americans had had their stonking Broncos and Wagoneers for years, but somehow it was Range Rover that accidentally stumbled into what was then virgin territory.

The Discovery, on the other hand, was a much more self-conscious concept, more of a marketing initiative than an engineering decision.

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