QOTD: Trucking Great Nineties Design in Europe?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

In the Wednesday QOTD last week, we began our considerations of the truck and SUV models from the nineties which aged most gracefully. American offerings were the first up for discussion, and the majority of you chimed in to agree with my assessment of the GMT 400 trucks as some of the best-aged designs. There were so many great GMT variations from which to choose!

Today we move on to Europe, which may be more challenging.

Unlike the truck and SUV craving North American market, Europeans didn’t (perhaps don’t) feel quite the same animal magnetism. We may have to dig into the realm of the forgotten today to find some stylish winners. Let’s refresh on the rules:

  1. All selections must be model years 1990 to 1999.
  2. Picks must be from a European manufacturer, even if sourced from an import (eg. Opel Monterey).
  3. The only eligible body styles are trucks and SUVs.

Though your author will likely never own one, the gracefully aging European SUV below comes to mind readily.

It’s the charmingly blocky Land Rover Discovery II. The first Discovery model stormed the European market in 1990, as Land Rover’s first family friendly SUV. It had seating for seven people, and was much less agricultural than the Defender. Discovery was also considerably more affordable than the luxurious Range Rover, but offered some of the same brand prestige for people in the Midlands or wherever. The Rover Group drove profits by enforcing cost saving measures like switches from the Rover Maestro and Montego. In 1994, the first Discovery made its way into eager North American hands, and shortly afterward returned to dealer service bays.

1998 saw the introduction of the Discovery II. Wearing very similar sheet metal to the original, all body panels were redesigned except the skin of the rear door. Utility declined slightly with greater overhangs, but luxury increased over the outgoing version. 2003 saw a visual facelift, with more modern looking front and rear clips, the former of which tracked closer to the new Range Rover. Discovery II lasted through the 2004 model year before its replacement by the filing cabinet chic LR3. The II is odd enough to look great, even today.

Time for your Euro truck and SUV style selections.

[Images: Land Rover; Opel]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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6 of 34 comments
  • Jeff S Jeff S on Jun 19, 2019

    The picture above of the Opel looks a lot like an Isuzu Trooper from the late 90s.

    • See 3 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jun 25, 2019

      @Guitar man "The Isuzu Trooper is a rebadged Vauxhall Frontera with an Isuzu engine, made in Japan. The bodyshell was designed by Opel." Sorry, no.

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Jun 20, 2019

    I honestly can't think of any 1990s SUVs out of Europe, aside from the Mercedes trucklet that they used in Jurassic Park 2. That's the only one I've ever seen. There's a G-Wagen running around here, but I think it's too new. Otherwise, that would probably be my pick.

  • Lou_BC Ironic, the Honda Ridgeline, a truck that every truck guy loves to hate is in 6th place.
  • 28-Cars-Later I keep forgetting I own it, but the space look on the ext cab reminds me of my 'Yota pickup of the same model year. I'm pretty sure there is some vintage of Hilux which features the same looking ext cab window (maybe '88?) its a shame these things are mostly gone and when available are $1,000,000,000 [INSERT CURRENT CURRENCY].
  • Sayahh Imagine if Ford had Toyota design and build a Mustang engine. It will last over 300k miles! (Skip turbo and make it naturally aspirated.) Maybe Yamaha will help tune it...
  • Sobhuza Trooper Isuzu's crime was to build some damn good trucks.Shame on them.
  • El scotto Listen, unless you were Lord Headly-Stempmoor or such when you got off the off the boat, boot in Canada, you got the short end of the stick. People got on the boat, these days a plane, to escape famine, becoming cannon fodder in yet another stupid war, or the government thought it was A-OK to let soldiers kill you. Juneteenth is just a way to right one of the more bad ideas in the American experiment. Instead we have commenters who were buying tater chips and diet soda at Wal-Mart and got all butt-hurt because they heard someone who wasn't speaking English. I'm going to go fix a couple of frankfurters with salsa and guacamole and wash them down with a lager or three