Koenigsegg v.s Bugatti Round 1: Heritage
Comparing the pasts of these two brands in a head to head
*Disclaimer I may be potentially biased toward Bugatti but I will do my best to be fair and this segment is on heritage not performance so don't be angry with my for not giving the technological rundown on the cars.
Let's start with Bugatti, Ettore Bugatti was born in 1881 and he is remembered as the legendary founder of Bugatti, the original mastermind. He was an Italian and went to art school at a few different academies, catching the eye of many. However, it all started with the first Bugatti in Molsheim, France in 1909, from there his cars increased in speed and beauty. As an artist himself he treated all of his cars as a work of art, and the result was beautiful. In 1920, one of Bugatti's powerful cars did well at LeMans the brands first major venue. However, all of this was overshadowed by the war.
However, Bugatti pushed forward, landing patents on many important elements of their designs. In 1921, their racing prowess really started to take off as they landed the top four spots and Brescia. Then in 1924, they made what now is renowned as the most successful race car in history ... the type 35. The car tore up the track landing over 2000 wins/podium finishes and set 47 records. It averaged 14 wins a week. In 1926 Bugatti notched their 2nd Targa Florio victory, and then came the royale (type 41). This behemoth was very long and very expensive, three of the six were sold. The car actually almost wrecked the brand it was almost unbuyable because they launched it during an economic crisis.
Now at the end of Ettore Bugatti's control of the factory, before turning it over to Jean, his son, the brand won at Monaco 3 times and won at Targa Florio 3 more times. This just capped off Bugatti's full racing history. The company consistently produced cars that could compete and they really tore up the track
Then came the type 57s Atlantic the first car designed by Jean, and it is truly a work of art ( gallery above). Then disaster struck in 1936 a worker strike cleared the factory of Bugatti and distanced the workers from the founder and his son. However, they kept pushing and actually won the 1937 LeMan's the companies first win at that track, and they did it again in 1939. But again all of this was overshadowed by the death of Jean Bugatti because of and accident while testing a car in 1939. Then World War 2 started. They factory had to be sold and they had to stop making cars. But Ettore entered more races and they won at the GP du bois in 1945. But, the theme continued and this win was overshadowed by the death of Ettore in 1947 from pneumonia. Ronald Bugatti took over and failed, production halted in 1956 and the Bugatti family line died out.
The brand surfaced in 1991 and made the EB110. Volkswagen seemed to take notice and bought the brand.
Then the Bugatti Veyron breaks the speed record and then its own record and the wheels start to turn again.The Veyron ruled over its decade. Then the Chiron replaced it and luckily for us, Volkswagen did not mess with either of them. And here we are, the Bugatti brand is honoring the past with every car while pushing forward into the future. They are back in Molsheim under the leadership of Stephan Winkleman. Did I mention they made a car go 304 MPH...
Now for Koenigsegg
On July 2nd, 1972 a man with a dream was born, and he is relentless. Christian Von Koenigsegg has overcome so much for his dream and now he believes he has reached the pinnacle of his personal automotive development, as far as speed is concerned. With the introduction of the Jesko he announced that it would be the fastest car that he would produce. But who really knows. Christian went from rebuilding moped engines to make them faster to being the founder of one of the most prestigious hypercar brands. After the moped he made motorbikes faster and he even got a boat and made that faster. When he wasn't fixing things he was drawing futuristic cars, with swivel doors, a vision that one day became a reality. He got a job selling frozen chickens, and during this time he was diagnosed with alopecia, which is a condition that makes you lose all of your hair, and not only that he had to face the doubts about what people would think of his car.
He started making his car in a small garage with a team of experts and after 18 months they completed the first Koenigsegg CC. The car took inspiration from the Ferrari F40 and the Mclaren F1, and was fitted with an Audi 4.2 liter V8. He was able to open his own factory and show room, and things started to take off. After the CC prototype and the CCX he made the CC8s which had the most powerful engine for a production car ever, 1018 hp. Then the factory went up in flames and everything except for the cars were destroyed, but he pressed on. He found a new factory on an abandoned airfield that used to be home to the ghost squadron, hence the ghost emblem on their cars. Then the CCR came along with a top speed of 242mph (395kmh) and lo and behold Christian Von Koenigsegg had done it, he made the fastest car in the world.
But he still had that addiction to speed and he never let off the gas pedal
In 2011 Koenigsegg launched the Agera R which went from 0-300kmh-0 in a record 21.19 seconds, then came the One:1 which broke the record again and boasts a 1:1 power to weigh ratio. Also in 2015, came the Regera which was yet another incredible technological achievement for the brand. Now we have the the Jesko absolute which is an insane feat of engineering that should be able to smash Bugatti's new mark. And last but not least they made the Gemera, a step in a new direction for the company, a car not fully built for speed, but also for luxury and practicality on the millionaire market. the cars that Christian produces have all left a crater in the hypercars class, literally every one of his cars notched some ridiculous achievement of speed that just shames other brands.
So which company has a more full and incredible history...
Although Koenigsegg does not have as many years under its belt as Bugatti has, it actually has more years of experience int he modern cars era. Many accuse Bugatti of being nostalgic as every one of their modern cars has hearkened back to some past achievement of Bugatti's, but at least they have a history to hearken to. Veyron, Chiron, both drivers for Bugatti, and the 110 anniversary additions, praising the length of Bugatti's history. Even the major design elements of the cars pay homage to the earliest Bugatti's. On the other hand, Koenigsegg only looks to the future, racking up records and praise as they go. So, in the past Bugatti has a clear victory with the iconic Type 35 which dominated the race tracks, but Koenigsegg's aren't often raced on the track. Bugatti has so much history, so many victories int he past, both brands have had their fair share of struggles. For Bugatti, they lost the family line and their factory, and even the whole business, but albeit with help from Volkswagen they are back on the market and back in Molsheim. It wasn't there fault that the Nazis forced them out of France and it wasn't their fault that a biker caused Jean to hit a tree, but Christian didn't plan for his factory to burn down or to lose all his hair. Christian also didn't have the head start that Ettore had. Christian had to work hard to start his company while Ettore got to go to art school and inherited much of what he got. Both persevered.
On the modern stage Koenigsegg and Bugatti seem to be almost even, with Bugatti's Veyron ruling over the early part of the century and Koenigsegg just now emerging into a prominence that has Bugatti sweating. What Koenigsegg has done in so little time is incredible, it has only been 20 years and they have smashed many records, even some of Bugatti's. Also both brands have stunning homes were they produce their cars.
So, Koenigsegg won in this century, but how to we account for the century before Koenigsegg where Bugatti beat different competitors. All I can say is that Koenigseggs trophy case is rapidly filling up but what Bugatti has done in the past and present I believe is enough to win them this point, they have just done so much. Give it another twenty thirty years though and we may have a different argument.