Pre Production Range Rover Sport

Pre Production Range Rover Sport BP54 VCK

Quite often I find myself browsing eBay as you do looking for ‘special’ factory cars. So imagine my excitement when I came across an advert for a 54 plate Range Rover Sport in September 2015! I had spotted it myself, but it was also mentioned on the CVC-R Facebook page. The pictures clearly showed the registration, so I plugged the registration into RAVE, and the DVLA website, and found that the car was registered in January 2005, and it was chassis number 900148 with a build date of 07/12/2004.

Now, I know that the Sport was not available to buy until May 2005, so this was special. The car was advertised for sale at a car sales pitch in Cheltenham not too far from where I work with a main dealer FSH, but typically I didn’t have time to go take a closer look. After a week or so, it was still for sale and I went to view it. Even though I wasn’t planning to change my daily drive car at all, I bought it there and then.

Subsequent research has found that it is an earlier chassis number than the first official production Sport (900505) which is at the Gaydon Heritage Museum and therefore that makes it pre-production. The only earlier Sport that I know of is in the Dunsfold Collection (900034). Also once I got details of previous keepers back it was first registered to Land Rover Co Fleet Admin confirming my hunch that it was a Land Rover car. I am the 4th owner after Land Rover, a Land Rover dealer, and 1 other.

In October we used it to tow our caravan down to Wales for a holiday. That meant I had to fit a twin tow electrics kit, which was straight forward and just plug and play. For this trip I just bought a removeable swan neck towbar, but I don’t like the knocking you get from the hitch and I couldn’t fit my Maxxraxx bike carrier. I have since found a good second hand, genuine fixed towbar that I will be fitting soon.

A stop off at the M4 services on the way down to Pembrokeshire.

A stop off at the M4 services on the way down to Pembrokeshire.

On the drive to Wales, my suspicion of a slipping gearbox was confirmed once the extra load was on. Some internet research and a trip to Quattro Autocare near York for a Megaflush seems to have cured that problem. However I also found that the suspension was rather bouncy when towing, so the suspension will need attention before our next caravan trip.

Over the 4 months I have been driving it, I have now done 6000 miles and apart from a gearbox issue, it has been very good with just a few little issues. The Sport is a great car to drive. It’s one of those cars that you just want to take for a run for no reason! Very much like the Classic Range Rover. Last week I took it in for a big service. It has also had new front discs and pads, but will have to go back for new rear brake discs, pads calipers and hoses as they are sticking, together with possibly a wheel bearing. I will then also send it back to have the air springs/damper units replaced as well as all the tired suspension bushes changed.

Cosmetically the Sport is very good, there is just a few little items of bodywork to have attended to before the show season. Hopefully BP54 VCK will be at a few of the 2016 shows.

Duncan McNutt

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