QOTD: Trucking Great Nineties Design in Europe?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
qotd trucking great nineties design in europe

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]

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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.

  • Art Vandelay Best? PCH from Ventura to somewhere near Lompoc. Most Famous? Route Irish
  • GT Ross The black wheel fad cannot die soon enough for me.
  • Brett Woods My 4-Runner had a manual with the 4-cylinder. It was acceptable but not really fun. I have thought before that auto with a six cylinder would have been smoother, more comfortable, and need less maintenance. Ditto my 4 banger manual Japanese pick-up. Nowhere near as nice as a GM with auto and six cylinders that I tried a bit later. Drove with a U.S. buddy who got one of the first C8s. He said he didn't even consider a manual. There was an article about how fewer than ten percent of buyers optioned a manual in the U.S. when they were available. Visited my English cousin who lived in a hilly suburb and she had a manual Range Rover and said she never even considered an automatic. That's culture for you.  Miata, Boxster, Mustang, Corvette and Camaro; I only want manual but I can see both sides of the argument for a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. Once you get past a certain size and weight, cruising with automatic is a better dynamic. A dual clutch automatic is smoother, faster, probably more reliable, and still allows you to select and hold a gear. When you get these vehicles with a high performance envelope, dual-clutch automatic is what brings home the numbers. 
  • ToolGuy 2019 had better comments than 2023 😉
  • Inside Looking Out In June 1973, Leonid Brezhnev arrived in Washington for his second summit meeting with President Richard Nixon. Knowing of the Soviet leader’s fondness for luxury automobiles, Nixon gave him a shiny Lincoln Continental. Brezhnev was delighted with the present and insisted on taking a spin around Camp David, speeding through turns while the president nervously asked him to slow down. https://academic.oup.com/dh/article-abstract/42/4/548/5063004