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LS2 V8 Swapped Land Rover Discovery Conquers the Aussie Outback With Ease
There are 4x4 and off-road fans that say big American V8s under the hood of SUVs and trucks that wouldn't travel more than 20 mph over trails are a complete waste of time. They claim that a low revving diesel with ample torque at low RPM will always trounce a gas V8 when the going gets rough.

LS2 V8 Swapped Land Rover Discovery Conquers the Aussie Outback With Ease

LS2 V8 2004 DiscoveryLS2 V8 2004 DiscoveryLS2 V8 2004 DiscoveryLS2 V8 2004 DiscoveryLS2 V8 2004 DiscoveryLS2 V8 2004 DiscoveryLS2 V8 2004 Discovery
But to those people, we call your bluff and raise you this certifiably Aussie 2004 Land Rover Discovery with something demonstrably different than the 4.6-liter gas-V8 it left the dealership with 18 years ago. Would you pass it up? We think not. As solid and powerful as this Disco's stock engine was, it pales compared to what it's sporting under the hood now. A six-liter LS2 GM V8 from the mid-2000s Chevy Corvette, Trailblazer SS, Pontiac GTO, and Saab 9-7X Aero. But that's far from the only noteworthy thing about this Land Rover.

Les Richmond Automotive of Campbellfield, Victoria, Australia, specializes in one thing only, taking late 90s and early 2000s Land Rovers and replacing their internals with an all-American classic LS V8. More often than not, these engines are often the more modern LSX small block engine. A motor derived from the seven-liter LS7 V8 from the C6 Corvette Z06.

Their services include the above upgrades but also servicing in-house modified vehicles, sourcing parts for customers to install at home, and offering advice about building custom Land Rovers through their website blog. In a nice change of pace, the tried and true LS2 is made to work just as well in this 2004 Discovery application. A brilliant SUV in its own right, only a group as skilled as these Aussies has any business performing major surgery on it.

A project of this magnitude requires a level of labor that most people aren't skilled or time-wealthy enough to undertake. But in the hands of the right mechanic, it can only be described as witchcraft to the untrained eye. It started with a complete body-off-frame disassembly to remove the stock Rover-derived V8 engine and its six-speed automatic transmission. A phenomenal engine in its own right, it'd be a tragedy to part it from its cradle if not for the total nosebleed-producing LS engine replacing it.

Once the new engine was snuggly in place, a GM 6L80E six-speed automatic transmission was paired behind it. From there, power is fed to an LT230T transfer case with a limited-slip differential from Ashcroft with a matching set of locking diffs from the same company. With a marginal wheelbase extension, the truck is now sitting at a 105-inch (2667-mm) wheelbase. There's ample room for an aftermarket coil spring setup from White Tiger alongside off-road-grade shocks from Bilstein.

It's all backed up by disk brakes at all four corners mounted on 16×8-inch wheels riding on 35×11.5-inch, all-terrain Beadlock tires. Thanks to a plethora of photos from the build, we see how every aspect of this Disco's construction is altered and improved by a remarkably small group of highly skilled people. From first impressions alone, it's clear the exterior of this Disco means business. Its bulging off-road tires and jet-black alloy wheels combine with its roof rack and chrome bull-bar to create a package fit for the apocalypse, a warzone, or both. At least to the untrained eye.

The Chunky same, like the normal-sized spare tire, bolts to the back like a set of tactical gear fitted to a roving desert soldier, and its hood-mounted snorkel completes a silhouette with an uncanny level of machismo. Even Grand Cherokee, Land Cruiser, and G-Wagon aficionados would have to tip their cap in respect to the level of craftsmanship that permeates every inch of the exterior of this Discovery. For how beefy it looks on the outside, the looks under the hood and in the cabin of this Disco are equally utilitarian.

The custom engine cover fitted to this LS2 V8 almost appears to have come as OEM equipment with how uncannily it looks at home in this classic British 4x4. A rear cargo area filled with utility drawers and a large food/beverage cooler lets you know this isn't the grocery-getting suburban runabout that so many of its brethren turned out to become. This is a vehicle for serious off-road trips. A hardened brute of a machine for journeys where any old SUV with any old all-wheel-drive system would fall apart after a while.

Most people don't need a car the likes of what comes out of Les Richmond Automotive's shop. But for those who do, this is your white whale, your holy grail. Your patron saint of the LS-Swapped Land Rover.  Check back soon for more from V8 Month here on autoevolution.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.


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