By creating Range Rover (whose first prototypes were passed around under the name Velar),Charles Spencer King had no idea that 20 years down the road, a peculiar Range shall be sold through 200 models, under the name Range Rover CSK, using his initials. Here is the story of the first Range, which leaned on performance, foreshadowing the SVR or Range Sport of today.
In 1990, Jean Leloup sang a song with the same name, while Land Rover rocked the boat with its exclusive Range Rover CSK, presented to the press in September. Of course, Range had evolved since its launching and had already offered V8 engines. Thus far, luxury wasn’t the target for Land Rover, more than performance, with power going up to 135 horsepower (carburetor) till 155 horsepower (injection). Not enough to make the heavy Range Classic (more than 2 tons) a real sporty.
A special series for Range Classic
Therefore, during the 90’s, the Range Classic wasn’t about to retire (the latter made room for P38A only in 1994), but it was about maintaining sales at a proper level, not to mention the margins of the manufacturer. This is why, Land Rover began to offer special series and mainly this CSK limited series.
On the basis of a 3-door range, the engineers of Solihull worked both on the engine and the car. For the V8, rebored at 3.9 liters, a new Lucas injection system and new injectors, allowed to increase the power to 185 hp: an evolution which was more than welcome, offered on other models of the range.
The CSK, contrary to other Ranges, received solid shock absorbers, an anti-roll bar but also a new line of exhausts. Thanks to all these improvements, its speed went up to 185 km/h while it went from 0 to 100 km/h in 10 seconds. Not bad for those days: the CSK paved the path for SUV sports cars, something we are aware of today, through a dash of luxury. The most amusing part is that, Charles Spencer King “himself”, excoriated this new trend of the SUV luxury sports car, during an interview in 2004.
Luxury and Power
And luxury it was, the Range CSK offered : leather, precious wood, but also an integrated telephone (do you remember Radiocom 2000), CD tray feeder, the best of the best for those days. With such a wide range of equipment and technical improvements, it goes without saying that the price was steep: 28 995 pounds for the BVM version, a 5-speed, up to 30 319 pounds for the BVA 4-speed version.
Reserved for England, the CSK found its public and strengthened Land Rover, with the idea of decking up the Range. For the end of its career, Range Classic didn’t finish by putting down roots in luxury, as it abandoned a sort of rustic character, just like the Mercedes Classe G, those days.
It officially produced 200 numbered models (of which n°200 belonged to Charles Spencer King, for a while), the Range Rover CSK are quite sought after by the amateurs of the model: A 5-door LSE Vogue Range, with the best engine, costs about 15 000 euros (according to LVA): no doubt that a CSK will negotiate at a higher price, even if it is only available with a right-hand drive.