Launched in 1970, the first generation of the Range Rover was billed as a utility off-roader that packed more creature comforts than the iconic Series model. The SUV quickly moved upmarket and became a staple of posh neighborhoods in cities across the United Kingdom.
Land Rover wasted no time in capitalizing on the Range’s newly-acquired status and as the 1980s drew to a close, it added more and more features to the list of equipment and more digits to the price tag. The British automaker took the Range Rover to new heights when launched the limited-edition CSK model in 1991.
Only available in Beluga Black, the Range Rover CSK was equipped with bumper-mounted driving lamps, alloy wheels and chromed bumpers front and back. CSK stickers were affixed to the tailgate and to both fenders and front fog lights mounted in a discreet lip spoiler came standard.
The CSK’s passengers were treated to seats upholstered in beige leather while real walnut trim was found on the dash and on the center console. To make the SUV even more exclusive, each example came with a hand-written thank you note signed by Charles Spencer King.
Many of the CSK’s extra features were borrowed from more luxurious U.S.-spec cars and the range-topping Vogue trim level.
With a zero to 60 time of 9.9 seconds, the CSK was the fastest Range Rover of its time. It was equipped with a 3.9-liter V8 engine that sent 185 horsepower and 236 lb-ft. of torque to all four wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic gearbox was offered at an extra cost.
An ABS system and a suspension setup that was 25 percent stiffer than that of a regular Range helped the SUV safely reach its top speed of 114 mph, a statistic which was impressive in an era when the idea of an extraordinarily expensive 4×4 fitted with low-profile tires seemed plain silly.
Only 200 examples of the Range Rover CSK were built, with each one wearing a numbered plaque on the dash. Both right- and left-hand drive models were offered in several markets throughout Europe but the car was never exported to the United States.