Christian von Koenigsegg
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When Koenigsegg was five years old, he saw the Norwegian animated film Flåklypa Grand Prix; in the movie a local bicycle repairman makes his own racing car. This gave Koenigsegg the dream of creating the perfect sports car. After several years of planning he launched the Koenigsegg project in 1994. Designer David Craaford provided a design concept following Koenigsegg’s guidelines. The prototype enabled the foundation of Koenigsegg Automotive AB.
Koenigsegg and his wife, Halldora von Koenigsegg, are active in the company's management.
Koenigsegg showed an interest in cars from an early age, starting at the age of five when he watched a stop-motion film, Flåklypa Grand Prix, about a bicycle builder who built a racing car, Il Tempo Gigante. When he was six years old, he drove a go-kart for the first time in his life, and he vividly recalls this as "one of the best days of his life". His first summer job was at a Suzuki dealership outside of Stockholm, Sweden, cleaning cars. At around this time, his hobby was tuning mopeds and was well-known in his area. His first cousin is Ezra Koenig of the American rock band Vampire Weekend.
One of his 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 the same solution as Christian’s Click floor.
Most of the patents that Koenigsegg hold today are Christian’s brainchild, such as the ‘Rocket’ Catalytic Converter and the Supercharger Response/Relief system. Another novel idea of Koenigsegg's is triplex suspension. Basically, it is a rear suspension system used in current Koenigsegg models that allows for maximum comfort, and straight-line speed. It uses a transversely-mounted shock-absorber that connects the two rear wheels, as well as independent suspension systems for each wheel. Another innovation that the company is pursuing is free valve technology. This is a technology that uses electronics and air-pressure to actuate intake and exhaust valves with very high precision and unlimited control of timing, instead of the traditional camshaft technology for their cars, allowing for engines to be much more efficient by reducing weight and size of engines, while making each cylinder able to be controlled interdependently, allowing for more complete combustion. Although it is still in research in development phase, it is a very promising concept.
In 1994, when aged 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. Christian sketched the initial technical layout of the car himself and together with a small team working for meager wages, hand-modelled 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. In 2002, Koenigsegg began series production of the CC8S model, a car that was fully homologated and crash tested for the European market. In 2003, a fire devastated the factory. Although the building was destroyed, most of the equipment and all of the cars under production were saved. They moved to their current location, a former Swedish airplane hangar. In 2004, a new model was introduced, the Koenigsegg CCR. At this time, in 2004, Koenigsegg's cars only complied with regional safety and emissions tests, but in 2005, with the Koenigsegg CCX, they were able to expand to the whole world. Over the years, Koenigsegg is perfecting their cars by making them more environmentally friendly, faster, and in many other ways. In 2010, Koenigsegg, came out with their outgoing model, the Agera. Today, Koenigsegg has a full R&D department with state-of-the-art equipment to call upon.
- Christian, 5: Jag ska bygga en egen bil när jag blir stor, Aftonbladet, 12 June 2009 (Swedish)