2002 Koenigsegg CC8S: The Monster Under Your Bed

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Hypercars should have bold, enticing names that echo confidently after you’ve vocalized them, like Ferrari, or Lamborghini. Even Pagani and Bugatti have a stern sound to it. A brand name, after all, is what evokes the emotions and imagery of the said manufacturers. The aforementioned names strike you as bold and adventurous because the cars they make directly align with those thoughts. Which brings me to the primary question I have, what type of emotions, thoughts and imagery does a Koenigsegg evoke?
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The answer to that question is fairly simple, but to understand it we must first take a look at the very first Koenigsegg production model, the CC8S. Christian von Koenigsegg, the owner of Koenigsegg, sketched the first designs in the early ‘90s, which, after some revisions and models yielded a Koenigsegg CC prototype car. The first prototype was publicized in 1996, only to be brought back as a full carbon fiber production prototype in 2000 at the Paris Motor Show. Koenigsegg established it’s primary aspiration with the introduction of the CC: to strip the McLaren F1 of all records and titles. Two years later, in 2002, Koenigsegg began series production of the CC8S. Only 6 would be made.
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The CC8S was Koenigsegg’s first production model to enter the wonderfully competitive world of hypercars. The timing to market is key because like Koenigsegg, Pagani is also a very small automotive manufacturer that produces hypercars. Pagani’s Zonda C12 had already been on the market since 1999, making Koenigsegg’s attempt to enter ever more difficult. Nonetheless, with positive reception in the late 90s for the CC prototype, Koenigsegg pressed on. The CC8S was built in very limited production due to the fact that every component, the chassis, suspension, brakes, wishbone uprights and engines were all custom designed and made by Koenigsegg’s very small team.
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The CC8S is equipped with a supercharged 4.7 liter V8 engine that puts out 655 horsepower at 6,500 RPM and 550 ft-lb of torque at 5,000 RPM with a 7,300 RPM red-line. Mated to a 6 speed manual transmission, all 655 horses put the power to the ground by the rear wheels, getting you from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 242 mph. Since the CC8S is the first production model for Koenigsegg it is only fair to compare it to Pagani’s first Zonda, the C12. With only 5 produced between 1999 and 2002 the Zonda C12 had a naturally aspirated 6.0 liter Mercedes Benz V12 that put out 389 horsepower at 5,200 RPM and 420 lb-ft of torque at 3,800 RPM. That gave the CC8S a 266 horsepower and 130 torque advantage over the Zonda C12. The fierce Italian Pagani suddenly looks like a tame sheep hiding in the shadows from the Koenigsegg CC8S.
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Designed as a Targa top two-door hypercar built with a kevlar reinforced carbon fiber semi-monocoque body the CC8S was also much lighter, with a dry weight of 1,175 kg (2,590 lbs), 75 kg (165 lbs) lighter than the Zonda. The monocoque body attaches to a steel sub-frame at the front and an aluminum sub-frame at the rear to accommodate engine, gearbox, and suspension mounting. The shell of the body is entirely carbon fiber and features hidden tunnels and vents that channel air to the rear spoiler to increase downforce.
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The CCR, successor to the CC8S, would go on to break the production car world record for top speed, which has been held by McLaren F1 for 8 years, only to be celebrated briefly as the 2004 Bugatti Veyron quickly trumped the CCR just weeks later.
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As a result, Koenigsegg clearly sounds like a solid competitor to Pagani, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Bugatti but i’m still interested by the type of emotions that a Swedish hypercar would evoke. Considering the raw amount of power and the extremely low amount of weight, coupled with the knowledge that this car would one day go on to break world records makes me shudder at the thought of what emotions a CC8S would bring to surface. In fact, I think I'm going to check under my bed tonight to make sure there isn’t one hiding there.
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Check out Koenigsegg's CC8S history and overview video about how Christian von Koenigsegg had a dream and how he made it come to life.
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