Speedy Swede

This article appeared in Elements Magazine in 2008. 


This ain't your Aunt Janice's Swedish car.

The Swedish are known for the furniture store, IKEA, for tasty meatballs, and for building safe and boxy cars, like Volvos. Yet few know that the Swedes also produce the second-fastest car on earth (next to the Bugatti Veyron 16.4)! The car is the Koenigsegg CCX, and it’s designed and handcrafted in Angelholm, Sweden, to be the most brash and outrageous supercar on the planet.

Dreaming Big

Company founder Christian von Koenigsegg comes from a wealthy family and when he dreamt about having his own automobile company, the coffers were full enough to turn those dreams into reality. In 1994, at the age of 27, Christian founded Koenigsegg Automotive and immediately set to work on designing an uncompromising supercar. In 2000, the CC8S debuted to a stunned auto world that thought the Swedes were only good at Saabs and Volvos. The creation was relatively compact, unlike a longish Ferrari or Lamborghini; it was relatively “simple” in terms of electronic “nannies,” unlike an all-wheel-drive Porsche; and it looked like it could just scare anything off the road. The CC8S was the foundation upon which Koenigsegg stands.

Festooned with myriad cooling vents, the CCX means business from any angle.

Starting at a million dollars even, the Koenigsegg is a very, very rare car, and official US sales are handled by Exotic Cars of Caesar’s Palace, in Las Vegas. There are three different models produced: the CCX, the CCXR, and the Edition. The CCX is powered by a 4.7-liter V8 engine that’s twin-supercharged. This powerplant is custom built for Koenigsegg in England, by a company that makes Formula One racecar components. The CCXR is essentially the same car, but its engine is modified to run on E85 fuel. That’s right—this is the world’s first environmentally conscious supercar. Running on Ethanol, the CCXR boasts 1,018 horsepower, which is 17 more ponies than the Bugatti Veyron. (Owners of the CCX can have their engines converted to run on E85 for only $100,000.) The Edition is Koenigsegg’s record-breaking piece de resistance: It has improved aerodynamics for high-speed runs, the carbon fiber body is left unpainted so the weave can be admired by all, and a paddle-shift transmission supplants the standard six-speed manual. The bad news: only 14 of the CCX Edition and six of the CCXR Edition will be constructed.

Simply Swedish

Koenigsegg’s design philosophy is refreshing simple in that the body is relatively free of extraneous “go-faster goodies,” such as massive winged spoilers and “look at me” side skirts. There’s just that one ginormous side intake that looks as if a small child could disappear in it. One concession to supercar fashion, however, is the CCX’s “scissor doors,” which lift upward yet offer better ingress/egress than Lamborghini’s or Mercedes-Benz’s similar portals. The “Swedish Simple” philosophy extends to the interior, which informs the observer that this beast is no kit car or homemade garage special—nor is it unnecessarily cosseting. The dashboard is dominated by an aluminum “pod” that looks like it was appropriated from a crashed UFO. (The pod even has a name befitting a million-dollar car: the Koenigsegg Chronograph Direct-Focus Instrument Cluster!) The leather seats conceal carbon fiber frames and are made by the racing supplier, Sparco. For open-air motoring, the CCX features a lift-off roof panel that can be stored in the front trunk. Yes, it’s cozy inside for two lucky people, but remember that this is essentially a racing car for the road.

In the belly of the beast.

Michael Nelson, General Sales Manager of Exotic Cars of Caesar’s Palace, states that their dealership delivered five CCXs in 2007 and in 2008, two have been delivered through May. When queried on just who buys these cars, Mr. Nelson says that the “typical” Koenigsegg buyer is a car collector with many rides. As for options on this bespoke motorcar, it mainly falls into the cosmetic (monochromatic paint schemes, naked carbon fiber) and the indulgent (custom-colored headliners, upgraded sound systems, reversing cameras, etc.). When asked about servicing, Nelson replied that the Koenigsegg factory is training independent exotic car mechanics from around the US at the company’s factory in Sweden. This way, if you live in New York, for example, and need service, there is a designated northeastern service center to handle your needs. Yet, Mr. Nelson cannot recall one instance in which a CCX was brought in for repair. (Try that with a Ferrari dealer.)

“What Was That?”

 The Koenigsegg CCX offers a different kind of experience than, say, a Bugatti. With the Veyron 16.4, which is about $1.4 million, it’s, “Look at me, I’m driving the most expensive car in the world…and it’s two-toned.” With the CCX, the vibe is more of a, “What the heck was that thing?!” Few have heard of Koenigsegg and even fewer still can identify one in photos, much less when it blasts past on the road. For some, who eschew logos on their clothing or handbags, and who wish to exude “silent luxury,” a Bugatti or a Ferrari Enzo wouldn’t even be considered. No, for some, only a Swedish supercar will suffice.

Shaped for speed.

KOENIGSEGG CCX Specifications

  • 0 to 60 mph: 3.0 seconds
  • Top Speed: 245 mph
  • Drivetrain: 4.7-liter, twin-supercharged V-8, 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
  • Total Power: 806 horsepower; 678 pound-feet of torque
  • Base Price: $1,000,000

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: