A man and his dream
Christian von Koenigsegg
Like many young men, Christian von Koenigsegg was fascinated by machinery as a boy. He even went so far as to dream about creating his perfect sports car. In stark contrast to the rest of us, however, Christian actually went ahead and turned that dream into reality – at just 22 years of age.
With extraordinary determination and vision, Christian explored the limits of both technology and innovation to create the Supercar of his dreams – the Koenigsegg CC. The Koenigsegg CC was the manifestation of a dream and its successful completion gave Christian the courage to continue, and to share his quest for perfection with others. Thus, the car company that bears his name was born.
The story of Koenigsegg is as fascinating and unique as the cars themselves. Christian was only 5 years old when he first saw a stop-motion film from Norway about a bicycle repairman who builds his own racing car. The film must have made an impression, as a young Christian grew up dreaming of creating the perfect sports car. Some 17 years later, and against all the odds, he did just that.
Christian showed an early interest for design and enjoyed the challenges posed by discovering new technical solutions. As a young boy he dismantled video recorders and toasters, just to see how they worked and whether they could be improved. As a teenager, he was known as the best moped tuner in town and in the early 1990’s, around his 18th birthday, Christian began to work more seriously with technical innovation and came up with two interesting ideas.
One of the innovations was called the Chip Player. He believed that one day, computer memory chips would be able to store an entire CD’s worth of data and that it would probably be a cheaper way to buy and store music. He conducted some patent searches for a musical device that would play chips instead of discs. In the end, however, no one seemed interested in the idea, so Christian moved on.
In 1991 he invented a new solution for joining floor planks together without adhesive or nails. He called it Click, as the profile enabled the planks to simply click together. Christian presented this technology to his father-in-law, who ran a flooring factory at the time. He rejected the idea, saying that if it was viable, someone would have come up with it a long time ago. Christian then showed the concept to a few other floor manufacturers who also dismissed it. In 1995 a Belgian and Swedish company patented virtually exactly the same solution as Christian’s Click floor – they even called it Click! This is now a billion dollar industry.
Most of the patents that Koenigsegg hold today are Christian’s brainchild, such as the ‘Rocket’ Catalytic Converter and the Supercharger Response/Relief system.
After the Chip Player and Click disappointments, and amidst the general boredom of running his import/export company, Christian decided that instead of chasing after the perfect business idea, he would follow his heart. He would build his dream car. Christian understood that it was virtually impossible and that many had failed before him. But to him, it was a mission – to create the perfect car with no compromises, no limits, and no fear of failure.
In 1994, at the age of just 22, Christian launched the Koenigsegg car company and set about creating what he believed to be the ultimate car, one for which no technical solution was deemed too difficult.
Today, Koenigsegg has a full R&D department with state-of-the-art equipment to call upon. In those early days, however, Christian had to make do with self-belief, imagination and determination in order to create the first working prototype. Christian sketched the initial technical layout of the car himself and together with a small team working for meager wages, hand-modeled all components for the vehicle. The prototype was completed in 1996 – just two years after the project began.
The first prototype had a unique monocoque chassis with specially designed suspension, brakes, wishbones and uprights. It had a full interior with double-curved hardened side glass, fitted with electric windows. Today, more than 15 years after it was first built, the car still drives perfectly!
Rather like his cars, Christian’s company moved at a record pace. In 2002, Koenigsegg began series production of the CC8S model, a car that was fully homologated and crash tested for the European market. It proved to the world that it is indeed possible for a passionate, dedicated young man to rival the old, established supercar brands.
“The Michelin Pilot Super Sports find traction and the car explodes down the road again without the slightest correction on my part”