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Land Rover's Spencer King, Dead at 85

The man considered one of the driving forces behind the very first, 1970 Range Rover and, at the same time, one of the most famous engineers in the UK, passed away this weekend, after being involved in a collision between his bicycle and a van.

Known in the engineers' inner circles as Spen, King was born in 1925. He started his involvement in the automotive industry in 1942, with Rolls-Royce. Three years later, he joins Rover, a company then led by his uncles, Maurice and Spencer Wilks.

Although initially his work revolved around developing the gas turbine used to power the JET1 and T3 experimental vehicles, he switched to new vehicle projects in 1959. King soon took over the fate of the Rover P6 Series, which turned into the 2000, 2200, and 3500 models sold in between 1963 and 1977. After the company acquired Standard-Triump, King helped develop the Triumph Stag, Triumph TR6 and Triumph TR7.

In 1979, King joins BL Technology, being responsible for several energy conservation vehicle concepts. More recently, he was involved in a campaign to convince manufacturers to use thinner windscreen pillars, as the thicker ones may cause accidents due to the lack of visibility.

As said, King was one of the driving forces behind the Range Rover. In his honor, the company launched in the early 1990s the two-door Range Rover CSK (Charles Spencer King).

The limited edition model was powered by a 3.9l V8 engine paired with a five speed manual transmission (automatic transmission as option). Created as a means to celebrate both King and promote the new anti-roll suspension, the CSK was built in only 200 units, each wearing an individually numbered plaque on the radio panel.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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