The beginner’s guide to Koenigsegg

Who’s Koenigsegg, and when did it start making cars?

Koenigsegg, aside from a purveyor of mesmerisingly quick, technologically bonkers cars, is one of those ‘and what were you doing at that age?’ moments that hits harder than most. In August 1994, at just 22 years old, Christian von Koenigsegg started his own car company, developing a working prototype by 1996, dazzling crowds at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 and a very different crowd at the Paris Motor Show in 2000.

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In the space of eight years, Christian and his team took Koenigsegg from a nice idea of a Swedish supercar to its first customer delivery at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show.

Where are Koenigseggs built, and how many does Koenigsegg build a year?

In an old Swedish Air Force base in Ängelholm, in Sweden’s south. It’s so far south, in fact, that it’s only a one and a half hour drive from Copenhagen, but more than six hours drive to Stockholm. Possibly less in a Koenigsegg, though.

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In terms of build numbers, well. If we told you that Koenigseggs sell for seven-figure sums, that it takes about 4,000 hours to build each car and that Koenigsegg manufactures most everything in-house – down to the titanium bolts – it’s hardly surprising that you could count yearly production numbers.

What cars does Koenigsegg build?

At the moment, that’s the Jesko Absolut – Jesko in honour of Christian’s dad.

The other version of the Jesko is called the Attack and favours on-track performance over outright top speed. Oh, now the Absolut spec makes more sense.

Koenigsegg still lists the Regera as a current production vehicle, even though the entire run of 80 cars sold out back in 2017. So, what gives? Well, revisit that whole “takes about 4,000 hours to build each car” bit we mentioned earlier and you might find an answer.

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Finally, there’s the Gemara, which is an utterly beguiling four-seat hybrid. And just the fact that we’ve called a four-seat hybrid beguiling is testament to the way Koenigsegg does things.

What’s the fastest car Koenigsegg builds?

That’ll be the Jesko Absolut. It is, according to Christian von Koenigsegg, the fastest car Koenigsegg will ever build. And this is from a man who’s somewhat au fait with building quick cars. The ballpark is 310mph, which is comfortably nestled in the Venn diagram overlap of terrifying and transfixing.

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What’s been Koenigsegg’s best moment?

So. Back when Koenigsegg was putting the finishing touches on its replacement for the Agera RS, Christian knew he wanted to dedicate it to the man who’d made his dream possible. And no, he didn’t reward himself. He’s not that sort of guy. Instead, he decided to name the upcoming car – which would be the fastest Koenigsegg ever – after his father, Jesko, who had poured his life savings into his son’s fledgling car company.

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But Christian wanted it to be a surprise, which became a much taller order than you might think. By the time the Jesko made its debut at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, Koenigsegg’s PR team had to create a fake press release to throw Mr Jesko Koenigsegg – who wanted to know everything there was to know about his son’s upcoming creation – off the scent. If you want, Koenigsegg’s YouTube channel has a video of Jesko finding out that his son’s incredible creation bears his name.

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What’s Koenigsegg’s most surprising moment?

Koenigsegg’s biggest surprise isn’t the utter speed of its cars, nor the bewildering technology that enables it. It’s not the staggering amounts of money they cost, nor the simple realisation that they’re probably worth every penny. Or indeed Krona. Meaning absolutely no disrespect – in fact, meaning very much the opposite – Koenigsegg’s biggest surprise is its success.

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It’s almost impossible to conceive just how stressful, difficult and terrifying it must have been for Christian to take an idea – and his life savings – and dive into one of the most difficult businesses in the world. This is the business that’s humbled any number of well-heeled, well-intentioned and well-versed entrepreneurs, and it’s very far from nothing for Koenigsegg to exist at all, let alone be an internationally renowned manufacturer of ne plus ultra supercars.

What’s the best concept Koenigsegg built?

It can only be the original Koenigsegg CC. This was the idea that made a home in Christian von Koenigsegg’s mind and never left, an irresistible impetus that drove him to quit his job and put everything he had into making something truly unique and utterly unexpected: a Swedish supercar.

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Even though the original CC is about as the Nineties as an Ace of Base album, you can see the harbingers of Koenigseggs yet to come. Even 25 years later, in something as unique and ultra-modern as the Jesko, it’s easy to spot just how foundational – and fundamentally brilliant – the CC was.

 

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