Ferrari Testarossa Koenig Competition: King of the neighbourhood
Willy Koenig was the undisputed emperor of the wild Eighties tuning scene.
Every generation gets the supercar it deserves and, in that regard, the Eighties spoke for itself. Even the Germans, today so concerned with keeping well within the boundaries of taste, wanted something a little more exciting. Anything went: if it had more wings than an aircraft (and more horsepower, too), it was worthy. Enter Willy Koenig, the undisputed emperor of the wild Eighties tuning scene. As early as 1961, Koenig was forging an impressive career in motorsport. In the subsequent years, he would drive Ferrari 275 GTBs, the legendary Ford GT40, BMW M1s and the Porsche 962. But his joy didn’t end on the track – his real dream was to develop the ultimate road-going sports car.
Poster-car looks and up to 1,000HP
Design, aerodynamics, equipment, engine and suspension – nothing was safe from Koenig’s discerning eyes. It all began in 1974 with the Ferrari 365 GT4 BB, followed by a raft of countless other Ferraris, as well as Mercedes-Benzes, Porsches, Lamborghinis and Jaguars. The recipe was simple: install a ridiculously powerful turbocharged engine, widen considerably and add huge spoilers and deep ventilation tunnels. The most successful and best-known Koenig Special was the Koenig Competition, based on the iconic Ferrari Testarossa. Its testosterone-fuelled, F40-esque design was real poster-car stuff and, if requested by the customer, its twin-turbo V12 could produce up to 1,000HP. Its list price was appropriately outlandish: one million Deutsche Marks.
Gone were the Testarossa’s of-the-era gills (though they were later used as distinguishing features in Koenig’s Mercedes-Benz SEC and Porsche 928), but in came stance and muscle. Those cruising the red-light districts of Frankfurt and Hamburg in a Koenig Competition would rightfully feel like the kings of the neighbourhood. In the Nineties, however, the tuning craze slowly faded and in-house manufacturers at BMW M and Mercedes-AMG came to dominate the market. The Koenig Specials disappeared, often without trace.
A certified classic?
As the Eighties generation grows older and wealthier, it was perhaps inevitable that the brutal, tuned monsters would be rediscovered by serious collectors. A genuine and well-preserved Ruf Porsche, Alpina BMW or Koenig Ferrari isn't easy to find and hence prices are rising, rapidly. At Artcurial’s Le Mans Classic sale on 5 July 2014, a 1987 Ferrari Testarossa Koenig Competition Evolution II will go under the gavel. One of just 12 built and with a mere 46,000km on the clock, the car is estimated to fetch between 80,000 and 120,000 euros (not that different from a bog-standard Testarossa). Barmy? Regardless, we can’t wait to see what it brings.