Christian von Koenigsegg grew up with the dream of creating the perfect sports car. After several years of planning, he launched the Koenigsegg project in 1993 at the age of just 21. Designer David Craaford provided a design concept following Christian's guidelines. A tight-knit group of competent people was gathered and a prototype was assembled, the success of which enabled the foundation of Koenigsegg Automotive Ltd.
In the year 2000, Koenigsegg started the series-production of the CC 8S model. It proved to the world that it was indeed possible for a small and dedicated group of enthusiasts to rival the old established supercar brands. In the spring of 2004, Koenigsegg launched the CCR, a vehicle that leaves all others behind.
The Koenigsegg headquarters is now in a large, ex fighter jet facility, which houses 30 full-time staff plus several extras. They include four engineers, three research and development staff, four composite technicians, four pre-assembly staff, two engine assembly staff, five final assembly staff, two storage staff and five at PR, sales, administration and leadership. Extra personnel are called in when needed, usually for development purposes.
Presently 7 vehicles can be assembled simultaneously, with four stations in the pre-assembly hall and three in the final assembly hall.
A large network of suppliers and partners are tied to Koenigsegg, most of which are based in Sweden. Many are small companies and craftsmen that produce low volumes of high-quality components. Both the assembly and the manufacture of the components is very labour intensive (e.g. all 300+ carbon fibre parts that make up each car), and the materials are without exception very costly. This is the reason for the high price of a Koenigsegg.
In 1994, the Koenigsegg project was launched. With a long tradition of building high-quality cars and a large number of suppliers to the racing car industry, Sweden offered a suitable breeding ground for the development of a world-class supercar. The concept for this supercar was set from the start, a two-seater, mid-engined construction with a hardtop; all based on state of the art Formula One technology. A network of competent designers and engineers, with connections both to the Swedish car industry and the universities, was tied together.
Then, in 1995, Koenigsegg moved into new premises in Olofström in southern Sweden. Development started and the production of the first prototype was initiated. The newly assembled Koenigsegg team made an extraordinary effort; in only one and a half years, a fully operational prototype was finished, ready for media promotion and evaluation. Shortly thereafter, in 1996, this was a year of heavy testing on racetracks, roads and in the Volvo wind tunnel. Among the world-renowned race-car drivers to test the prototype were Picko Troberg, Calle Rosenblad and Rickard Rydell. They were all amazed by its outstanding performance. The concept worked. It was time to introduce the concept to the prospective buyers.
A year later, in 1997, the Koenigsegg CC prototype was shown at the Cannes film festival and its success was immediate. The satisfactory test results and the great media coverage at the Cannes film festival enabled the company to go forward and engage in the creation of the finished product. An entirely new car was being brought into the world.
Sticking to the basic concept of the prototype, the chassis now included a carbon fibre monocoque, and a unique module system was developed so that the car could easily be configured to every desired set-up. Thereafter in the spring of 1998, the Koenigsegg team worked full speed ahead on the specified product model. The car went through 57 different tests in order to comply with international certification regulations. Maintaining a low profile towards the media, all concentration was focused on perfecting the final product. An ideal new facility near Ängelholm in southern Sweden was purchased, and the building of a production infrastructure was started.
In 1999, since nearly every key part of the Koenigsegg CC was specially designed and unique, highly qualified composite engineers and CAD/CAM engineers were employed. Modellers with experience from SAAB, Bentley and Bugatti created the final body. A three-dimensional measuring system with full CAD/CAM capabilities was set up in the modelling workshop. In 2000, the first production prototype vehicle was assembled and tested during the spring and summer. The deadline was set for September 28th, when the finished product met the jury of the world; the Premiere at the Paris Motor Show.
Meanwhile, at the Koenigsegg facility, a full-scale production line for the manufacturing of the cars was being organised. A year later the silver production prototype CC received great attention at its presentation at the Paris Motor Show. Articles about it were published in most of the world's car magazines. It also received several design awards, among them the prestigious German Red Dot award and a prize for excellent Swedish design. The Swedes voted the Koenigsegg CC the Car of the Year in the Swedish magazine Automobil.
The magazine, Car and Driver, performed a series of tests to the car and found it beating the competition on most accounts such as acceleration, lateral G and braking. In 2002, the first customer Koenigsegg CC, named CC 8S, was assembled and it was handed over to its proud owner at the Geneva Motor Show in March. This red car was also tested by Koenigsegg test drivers on racetracks and roads, to further refine performance and drivability.
While the build-up of the assembly line at the Koenigsegg plant was still underway, the team nonetheless managed to build five stunning cars during the year. In September, Koenigsegg was launched in Asia, with two cars featuring in a spectacular premiere at the Seoul Car Show.
Thereafter, in 2003, several improvements to both design and performance were implemented on the 2003 model CC 8S. Modifications to the suspension system were made in cooperation with Mr. Loris Biccochi, a world-renowned test driver with experience from Lamborghini, Ferrari and Bugatti.
Production was halted due to a fire accident, which forced Koenigsegg to move into new premises at the F10 Air Force Base at the outskirts of Ängelholm. BBCs Top Gear named the CC 8S the fastest car they have ever tested and Koenigsegg holds the Guinness World Record for the most powerful streetcar with the Koenigsegg One:1.
The following year, all development effort was concentrated on the CCR, the new 806 hp model that was presented at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The exhibited vibrant orange car was hailed as one of the true gems of the show. The Koenigsegg CCR featured several new components which interact to bring its performance up far beyond that of any other supercar.
The CCR will attempt to break the high-speed record by travelling faster than 395 km/h, later this year. After a great successful few years, Koenigsegg continues to strive.
Back in 2014, DreamWorks Entertainment released the Need For Speed movie, featuring a few Koenigsegg Agera R's. According to the director, only the shells of the cars were used on film due to costs. Each shell costing a whopping R1 200 000!
Koenigsegg has proven to the world that whenever we think we have reached the limit of what a car can do, and how technology can't possibly improve on the current, we are so wrong. What an astonishing inspiration.
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