Big things with little cars

Once upon a time, manufacturers gave their cars names. Not all manufacturers mind you, but most of them. And with the exception of BMW and Mercedes, most of the ones who didn’t only had 2 or 3 models that were probably only distinguished by their body type. But soon the names started going away. Mostly this was done to be more like those previously mentioned brands that they were competing against or aspiring to be. Or the argument was made that names don’t necessarily translate well in other markets. We can agree or disagree with those arguments, but at least there was some sort of logic to it. Then in the late 90's, we get to Acura. When they decided to switch to alphabet soup, the gave the excuse that the model names were stronger than the brand; in other words more people knew what a “Legend” was than they did an “Acura”. Seems like a marketing issue and not a naming one, but okay, whatever.

Apparently the folks at Land Rover North America thought that made perfect sense, because they too trotted out the model vs. brand recognition issue. So the Freelander became the LR2, the Disco(very) became the LR3, only to later become the LR4?, and the Range Rover became the, uh, Range Rover. Come on, they’re not that stupid. Then they had the brilliant idea to create a new model by putting a sportier body on the platform of the mainstream Disco. That new model’s name? The LR5? Of course not, don’t be ridiculous. They called it the Range Rover Sport. And of course they followed that up with another new model, the Range Rover Evoque. So now 3 of your 5 models are all Range Rovers. And the the Freelander/LR2 gets reborn as the Discovery Sport, because now “Discovery” is a sub-brand or something. But the Discovery? Yeah, it’s still called the LR4.

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So I’m a lot of words into this rant and you’re probably wonder why and what does this have to do with diecast. The answer to that is that the model you see before you is an Ertl Land Rover LR3. But it should be called the Discovery. So then I can call it the Disco, because I like calling it “The Disco”. LR3. The ef is that?

I believe this model is from Ertl’s “Grand Marques” line, but I no longer have the box and I can’t remember. I do remember that this color was a Toys R Us exclusive. They must have moved some weight back in the day. It was about $30, so that would have made it more expensive than a Maisto, but still way cheaper than an AUTOart. Just as it was priced between those brands, the model’s quality and feature set puts it in that middle ground as well. The positives are good paint, solid construction, lights with no stubs, and realistic hinges on all 4 doors, the left-rear of which has decided it doesn’t want to close all the way. But that might be the owners fault. It also looks like it might have a complete engine, though the engine itself is not much to look at.

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There are only a few negatives. The brake disc and rotor are 1-piece like a Maisto, but nowhere near as detailed as a Maisto. The center stack of the dash is just a sticker, and the interior, while obviously made of plastic, looks like it is made of plastic. Lastly, the suspension is fixed. Normally I don’t care about that particular feature but how am I supposed to ORAT this thing?

So that wraps up this big rant/mini review and.... Dammit! I forgot to call it the Disco. Oh well.

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