Thanks to his determination Christian von Koenigsegg turned his boyhood dream into reality at a remarkable young age. Not short on ambition, he set out to construct the 'perfect sportscar'. After several years of careful planning, the Swede approached designer David Craaford in 1993 to pen a global shape following his explicit instructions. Only 22 years old he officially announced the Koenigsegg project in 1994. Throughout the 1990s his team worked on the design and engineering of the supercar. In those years the prototype car constructed received global acclaim. All this work culminated in the Koenigsegg CC that was unveiled at the 2000 Paris Motorshow. In the preceding years the car was not only developed, but numerous test was carried out to ensure the car was fully road legal and ready for production.
So what did the young Swede build to conquer the world? A highly advanced mid-engined sportscar that in concept rivalled the finest Italy and Germany has to offer. Using the latest racing technology a strong and lightweight carbon fibre and aluminium honeycomb monocoque chassis forms the car's core, while a specifically developed supercharged V8 is the heart of the Koenigsegg. The front and rear double wishbone suspension is carried on separate subframes to enable quick repairs and to simplify maintenance. The Ohlins dampers are mounted in-board and can be fully adjusted to suit the driver's preferences through the Koenigsegg Advanced Control System (KACS).
As mentioned earlier the all aluminium engine is the rapidly beating heart of the Swedish beast. It is derived from Ford's 4.6 litre quad-cam V8, but in the development process all parts were modified to the extent that it can be considered a Koenigsegg engine. A highly advanced Rotrex Supercharger system literally boosts the output of the V8 to 655 bhp in the 'base' model. Weighing in at just over 200 kg, it not only produces plenty of power, but also helps to keep the weight down. The horses are transferred to the wheel through a custom developed Crima six speed gearbox, which comes complete with a separate oil cooler and a limited slip differential. Even the specifically developed gearlever can be adjusted to suit the driver's preferences.
Many of the elements drawn by Craaford in 1993 were carried over in the final design, except for the front facia. On the Paris show car the headlights consisted of three units, but the final production version featured a more conventional single piece headlight. The high downforce and low drag combination was achieved by spending many hours in the Volvo wind tunnel. Unlike many other cars in this genre, the Koenigsegg does not feature a big rear wing, but instead relies on the advanced underbody construction. Uniquely, the doors open by sliding out first and then tilting forward; a totally different approach as the scissor doors often seen on this type of cars.
Shortly after the September 2000 show debut, production started. The final version of the car with the modified headlights was dubbed CC 8S and the first example was deliverd to its owner early in 2002. In the mean time the Paris show car was subject of many articles; quickly spreading the word. Car and Driver subjected it to extensive tests and concluded the new kid on the block was on par with or even beat the seasoned competition. While the production was at full steam, the development team continued working and several modifications were included in the 2003 model of the CC 8S. A heavy fire in Koenigsegg's facility slowed production down considerably and forced the company to move to new grounds.
After settling down at a former Airforce base, Koenigsegg was back on track in 2004. Two years after the first car was delivered the Swedes caused an upset at the Geneva Motorshow with the CCR. Helped by a twin Supercharger setup the power output of the aluminium engine was increased to a stunning 806 bhp. From the outset it was clear that this second model was intended to beat the long standing production car speed record set by the McLaren F1 back in 1998. A year after the launch, Koenigsegg was back in Geneva to announce that only a few days earlier a CCR was clocked at 387.87 km/h, eclipsing the McLaren's previous record by 1 km/h. Renowned for their tests on the Nordschleife section of the Nürburgring, the German magazine Sport Auto gave the CCR a higher rating than the Porsche Carrera GT.
An important new chapter will be added to the bestseller book that is Koenigsegg at the 2006 Geneva Motorshow where a third model will be introduced; the CCX. It was not designed to break another set of records as was heavily speculated in the build up to the show, but instead is aimed specifically at the world's biggest market; the United States. Based off the CCR, it has a modified nose and rear end to comply with America's stricter impact regulations. The most remarkable feat can be found under the engine cover. The engine was modified to accept lower octane fuel without the loss of power. The electronics are also upgraded to a fully digital system, which is devoid of physical fuses.
Could Koenigsegg finally have cracked it? First was the CC which was never well known, then came the CC8S which was impressive from a relatively new company. Then came the CCR which boasted outstanding performance figures from a V8 and is also very handy on the track, mainly because it is basically designed to be a track car. But then they were left with a track car which no one would buy, and a road going car which didn't have a good verdict from test drivers. Now Koenigsegg have made the CCX which could replace the CC8S in style.. The next supercar of the decade?