Koenigseggs today are alien machines, unearthly in design and engineering wizardry made by a man from the future who builds cars until they are fast enough to take him home. But the first-ever Koenigsegg prototype was not that at all. It was a shoddy thing, looking like it came out of a shed in the 1990s, which it pretty much did. But it did have a stonking big V8.

And it sounds good. Which shouldn’t be surprising, as it came out of an Audi, and Audi V8s tend to sound good. I’ll let Christian von Koenigsegg himself explain how it got in there:

Our first prototype, finished in 1996, had a standard Audi V8 with a standard Audi V8 transaxle. I didn’t have the ambition at that time for us to build our own engine from scratch, though I didn’t want to just have a standard Audi V8, either. I wanted to tune it, to take it to 550-600hp. So I went to Audi and I said “Hi, I’m Christian and I’m going to build sports cars. Can you supply me with engines?” and they were surprisingly positive about it – until I mentioned that I was going to tune it.

We had a lot of discussions back and forth and they were interested in doing business, but they weren’t interested in their engines being tuned by others. We almost found a back-channel through an industry supplier in Denmark and we even signed an engine supply contract thinking that we’d be OK buying them this way, but Audi heard about it and shut that avenue down, too.

The next plan was to go to an engine derived from Subaru’s flat-12 made for Formula One, but that never got off the ground, either.

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I wonder whatever happened to this “Koenigsegg” outfit. Hope they eventually managed to find some engines.