Twin-turbo conversions and outlandish bodykits are commonplace these days, with tuners like Liberty Stroll each inspiring and upsetting purists in equal measure with their supercar reimaginations. However this isn’t a brand new factor. The truth is, it’s various a long time previous.
One title on the forefront of the unique cost was German tuner Koenig Specials.
Koenig Specials was based by Willy König, whose fortunes made in publishing allowed him to pursue his true ardour – racing. Competing underneath the pseudonym ‘Robert Frank’, König gained the German Hillclimb Championship in his Ferrari 250 GT SWB, earlier than racing different iconic automobiles by means of the Sixties, ’70s and ’80s, together with a Ford GT40, BMW M1 Procar, Porsche 935 K3 and Porsche 962.
Within the ’70s, after feeling slightly disheartened by the efficiency of his Ferrari 365 BB, König turned his hand to mechanical and beauty modification of assorted sports activities automobiles. At first it was a facet curiosity, however having developed a fame for wild styling and a fastidious method to mechanical tuning, he made it official. Koenig Specials launched in 1977.
A complete of 929 Ferrari 512 BBs have been ever produced, with solely a handful of those receiving the aftermarket Koenig Specials remedy. So when this gorgeous instance appeared domestically at The Traditional Motor Hub, I had to go in for a more in-depth look.
The Koenig Specials 512 BB exterior improve leaves little untouched, with aerodynamic enhancements made to both assist cooling or scale back raise. This side of the automotive was designed by one other recognisable title from the ’80s tuning world – Vittori Strosek.
The diminutive 512 BB wore comparatively slim 15-inch wheels from manufacturing unit, however within the Koenig Specials model they grew to 9 inches large up entrance and 11 inches on the rear, shod in bulbous 225/50 and 325/35 tyres respectively.
These extra aware of Koenig Specials will discover this automotive is lacking the trademark facet strakes the model grew to become synonymous with, but it surely nonetheless retains different styling cues. NACA-style ducts alongside the sills feed air to the rear brakes, whereas vents within the decrease entrance lip cool the entrance brakes. Enormous facet intakes feed the intercoolers, and twin air containers breathe by means of the finned deck lid.
The 512 BB rolled off Ferrari’s manufacturing line with round 355hp from its 180-degree V12. Koenig Specials provided a number of states of tune, starting from 385 as much as a frankly ludicrous close to 700 horsepower, which this automotive has.
Due to a complete rebuild and addition of dual turbos (initially discovering use in plane, modified by Franz Albert), the Koenig Specials 512 BB may go 0-60mph in effectively underneath 4 seconds, and crack the 200mph (321km/h) barrier for these dedicated sufficient to strive.
The turbos sit the place the unique Ferrari rear silencers as soon as did, whereas spent gasses exit out of what barely passes as an exhaust, with wastegate dump pipes alongside.
One of many largest modifications was the removing of the engine’s manufacturing unit carburettors to suit fashionable digital gas injection and ignition techniques. On this specific automotive, the ignition was just lately up to date once more to offer a extra steady spark and to take full benefit of higher high quality gas. This modification has doubtless elevated the ability and torque output much more.
The inside is left largely customary, save for the digital Lifeline hearth suppression controller and extra gauges to watch oil temperature and enhance pressures. Sure, plural – every turbocharger has its personal gauge.
Not many automobiles have ashtrays of their sills, however this simply reveals how low you sit within the automotive. The long-lasting gated shifter takes satisfaction of place within the slim centre console, with driver and passenger in shut proximity to at least one one other.
Sitting within the driver’s seat, it’s not arduous to think about what it might be like to wind out the motor alongside a straight stretch of street. In true ’80s style, you’d have a level of lag earlier than the turbos delivered their full enhance, and the audio system would have been largely a suggestion, being barely audible over the wastegate chatter and exhaust cackle on the overrun.
This automotive completely sums up the ahead pondering mentality of tuners in that period – take an already completed mannequin and flip it as much as 11. There are various issues this automotive is, however discreet is actually not one among them. A lot in order that Ferrari issued a authorized discover stating no Koenig Specials could possibly be marketed or offered utilizing their title.
Koenig Specials continued strongly into the ’90s, tuning all method of efficiency automobiles, from Mercedes-Benzes to Jaguars. It nonetheless exists immediately, however is unfortunately now only a shadow of its former self.
So whereas fashionable tuning homes are doing a little fairly loopy issues, bear in mind none of that is new – style goes in a single large cycle. Consider it as an evolution, fairly than a revolution. I’m unsure what we’ll see come the following cycle, however the OGs are at all times arduous to beat.
Due to George, Nigel and everybody else at The Traditional Motor Hub for accommodating me. Click on right here to see and listen to this Koenig Specials 512 BB rolling out of their showroom.