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Unusual cars with interesting histories

The Green Supercar

Koenigsegg Agera

Koenigsegg Automotive AB was started by a a gentleman called Christian Erland Harald von Koenigsegg who at the age of 5 watched a film about a bicycle maker who went on to build a superb racing car. He is reputed to have decided there and then that that was what he wanted to do himself and by the age of six he had already driven a go-kart! Cars and car technology were already in his blood.

He formed his company in 1994 with the declared aim of creating a sports car which could compete with the best in the world. However he also had a firm interest in environmental issues which led him to research engines that would run not only on petrol but on more sustainable fuels as well. It is perhaps no coincidence that the Agera, which was awarded the 'HyperCar of the Year' accolade by Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear in 2010, could actually run better on biofuel than petrol.

And hypercar this certainly was. The twin turbocharged 5 litre V8 pumping out a massive 1115 brake horsepower was claimed to have a top speed of 275 mph and a 0 to 100 km/h in 2.9 seconds, making it the fastest production car in the world at the time. The engine was mid-mounted to give optimum weight distribution, driving the rear wheels through a seven speed paddle shift transmission and weight was kept down by the use of forged aluminium wheels and a lightweight body made of Kevlar and carbon fibre, over a carbon fibre chassis.

The factory is situated near to Ängelholm airport and the company has the use of the former military runway there which it uses as a test track. In 2011 a specially prepared Agera, the Agera R was said to have accelerated from a standing start to 186 mph in 14.5 seconds; it then braked to a complete stop in just seven seconds. And this was running on biofuel! The car could also be adapted to run on gas, although sadly not as quickly.

A highly innovative feature of the Agera was an aerodynamic rear wing to help keep the car firmly on the ground. However, unlike most other innovations of this kind it was not power operated but automatically used the air pressure caused by the speed of the car to alter the angle of attack. This made it simpler to construct and to deploy since little or no driver participation was necessary in it's use.

There was fibre optic lighting units in the cabin, scissor operating doors, and so-called 'ghost lighting' which appeared to come through solid aluminium, but actually shone through microscopic holes in it. It is perhaps not surprising that the price tag for each car, which was produced until 2018, was over £1 million.

The company is still innovating – and still beating world records.

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