Only 200 of the ultimate Range Rover Classic, the CSK, were made in 1990. Rarely seen for sale on the open market, is this the most collectible of them all?
Back in 1990, Land Rover dropped a bombshell. During the 1990 British International Motor Show, an announcement was trumpeted that stopped enthusiasts and collectors in their tracks. The two-door Range Rover was back – and it was back with a vengeance.
The reanimated two-door shell, previously unavailable in Britain since 1984, was going to be limited to just 200 examples, dubbed the Range Rover ‘CSK’ in homage to the car’s main designer – Charles Spencer King.
Not only was the CSK offering practical exclusivity, but it was intended to be the absolute pinnacle in terms of performance, looks and luxury. According to sources, this was the first Range Rover to boast a fuel-injected 3.9-litre V8, tweaked to produce 185bhp and a torque curve with more clout than Donald Trump’s right-hand man. Top speed was boosted to 114mph; not bad for something with the aerodynamics of a breeze block.
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The suspension was uprated and stiffened by 25 per cent, which although hampering off-road progress ever so slightly when things got really nasty, allowed for better road manners and sharper handling. Well, by Range Rover standards of the day, that is…
All 200 examples were finished in Beluga Black with chrome bumpers and subtle silver coach lines. Within the cabin, each one was trimmed in beige leather with walnut dashboard trim. The transmission could be either manual or automatic, although the latter option pushed the car’s showroom price north of £30,000 back in the day – roughly £65,000 today.
As you may expect, these Range Rover Classics seldom change hands. When they do, the cost is eye-wateringly expensive. Not all 200 have survived time’s onward march, making healthy and original examples worth their weight in gold. You can find out more about each car’s fate on the dedicated CSK website.
It’s not an overhyped classic car, either. AutoClassics got behind the wheel of CSK chassis no.1 earlier this year, and our staff writer had to be prised out of the driver’s seat for the Dunsfold Land Rover Collection to claim it back.
For all these reasons, whenever a Range Rover CSK appears in our classifieds, we go a little mad with excitement. Naturally, we had to find out more.
From the classifieds - yours for £79,950
This example offered for sale by The Classic Motor Hub is number 66 of 200, originally bought new by a Mr Moffat from Lex Land Rover in Bury. Delivered on the August 3, 1991, it was fitted with an automatic gearbox and all the optional extras. Just in time for grouse season!
The extensive history file contains the original order form and invoice, alongside service invoices from Mr Moffat’s ownership until August 1998.
According to the handwritten bill of sale on file, the car was sold for the sum of £10,500 to Andy Starr of Colchester, Essex, before the turn of the millennium. The lad had himself something of a bargain. He would have been mad to part with it. Crazy, even.
Starr sold the vehicle in 2007 to Chris Davies, who then sold on the CSK in 2009. We can bet that, with current values, these gentlemen are weeping into their cornflakes each morning. Bear in mind that the original CSK was valued a few years back at £175,000.
It isn’t clear exactly who bought the car after this, but we know it was well taken care of. A quote on file dated September 2009 from renowned customiser and trimmer Vantagefield International proves that the car was restored and re-trimmed with black leather and black Alcantara finish. The mechanicals got a damn good overhaul, too.
The mechanical restoration included an engine upgrade by John Eales from 3.9 to 5.0 litres, and an increase in power to 300bhp. Yup, you read that right. A 300bhp Range Rover Classic. Be still my beating heart.
John Eales founded JE Motors in 1975, developed Land Rover’s V8 for the factory Paris-Dakar cars and then developed his own 4.2 litre V8. His motor was so impressive that Land Rover purchased the rights to build his engine and fitted it to later production Range Rovers. That’s right – the ones that overheat faster than Richard Burton could down a pint.
Soon after the upgrade was finished, this Range Rover CSK was purchased by Lord Rothschild, head of the renowned Rothschild banking family and a keen motoring enthusiast.
He kept the car until 2013, at which point the current owner bought the car. He set about carrying out further improvements including new suspension and sills.
Now in pristine condition and having had more than £50,000 spent on it over the past nine years, this is a well loved example of a very rare limited-edition Range Rover. Accompanied by its original owner’s manual and that extensive history file with most MoT certificates from new, alongside the apt number plate J66 CSK, (remember, this is car no.66 of 200), this is the complete package.
With Jaguar Land Rover now restoring original two-door Range Rovers at a cost of £135,000 plus the cost of a donor vehicle, this example remains extremely good value for money; be it as a collector’s edition or the ultimate shooting wagon.
Get a closer look with the classifieds advert.