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The 1989 Launch of the Land Rover Discovery - Plymouth, England.

The G-WAC press fleet as it became known comprised of 86 cars registered G451WAC to G535WAC with the exception of G500WAC, which was not used. Other G-WAC's were registered by the factory during late 1989 and early 1990. You may see or know of other Discoverys registered in the G3XXWAC and G6XXWAC series of registrations, they were all registered after the press launch in October 1989. Interestingly G194WAC and G195WAC were the first registered Discoverys as they were both registered on 6th September 1989 but to my knowledge and film footage these vehicles did not appear at the press launch. Many Range Rovers also had G-WAC plates in the series of GxxWAC and G1XXWAC, these were not connected with the Discovery launch. Land Rover special vehicles division also had access to the G-WAC registration plates and many special builds were registered with random G-WAC registrations from the series.

This was the first new Land Rover product for almost two decades, and Land Rover decided to return to the West Country as in 1970 the Range Rover was launched in Falmouth. What better place to choose than Plymouth known as the City of Discovery.

The launch took place over five weeks in October and November 1989. Each day the cars were lined up on Plymouth Hoe ready for the press to get behind the wheel and tour Devon and Cornwall in the new Discovery. Each day a route around Devon, over Dartmoor and into Cornwall gave the journalists the opportunity to experience the new Discovery.


They visited South Devon Railway at Buckfastleigh, where a Discovery pulled a train, then on to Blanchford Manor for cream Teas, St Mellion Golf Club, Torpoint Ferry and Mount Edgcumbe estate.

The cars were taken at the end of each day to the Plymouth bus garage where a mini production line cleaned and repaired the cars for the following days press to enjoy.

The new 200 Tdi engine (Gemini) proved to be the most popular drive and most of the Tdi cars came in very striking new metallic paint finishes such as Arken Grey, Marseilles Blue and Foxfire Red amongst others. Some cars had electric packs, twin sunroofs, seven seats and air conditioning whilst others were basic specification. Extras such as bull bars, driving lamps and side steps were also fitted to some cars to demonstrate some early options available. No alloy wheels had been developed yet for the model but these soon followed in January 1990.