Glossy car magazines in the 1980s regularly welcomed the outrageous and hugely powerful gimcracks created by U.S. and European tuners. Koenig Specials always seemed to be on photo shoots, probably because they looked like, well, this. Eponymous namesake Willy Koenig, a German, also had a company origin story akin to Ferrucio Lamborghini’s. He bought a 365 GT4 BB and wasn’t happy with how it drove, so he addressed its weaknesses and impressed enough other Ferrari owners to found a business. Gooding has a pair of Koenig-fettled Ferraris that will go to the highest bidder during Monterey Car Week, and we’re only sorry we won’t be there to watch Gordon Gecko and his team of assistants lead the bidding.
The first on the docket is a 1984 Koenig Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer, known as the 512 BB. A regular 512 BB left Maranello with a carbureted 4.9-liter flat-12 behind the cabin, putting out 360 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Shipping its grunt to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual, the little red Italian could hit 60 miles per hour in 5.1 seconds and reach 188 miles per hour.
Koenig is said to have offered three tuning trims, two of them naturally aspirated, one with a pair of Rajay snails that cranked output to something like 650 hp. This Gooding sample is missing the extra plumbing and wears Ferrari-branded heads, so our guess is that this one only has the free-flow exhaust and other minor mods.
Koenig employee Vittorio Strosek, who would later end up in magazines as an independent Porsche tuner, penned bodywork that makes one’s heart beat faster the further back one looks. A reshaped and more deeply sculpted front bumper and air dam leads to chunky side sills that end in a widebody rear with curt strakes and NACA ducts. The rear end presages what the Lotus Esprit would look like a few years later, with high-mounted scoops — which would normally feed the turbos this car lacks — perched over giant wheel arches and 345-section Pirellis. The three-piece center-lock BBS wheels harken back to Koenig’s days as a gentleman racer, and were illegal on German roads at the time. The wing sat atop the extended rear spoiler was a standard feature of the non-turbo cars, but customers could get the spec they wanted assuming they had the Deutschmarks to pay for their desires.
The original owner — Donald Weber, the same gent who purchased the Rinspeed up for auction — put only 4,000 miles on his Koenig Special in 36 years, for a total of about 8,700 miles. This low-mileage car trying has a pre-sale estimate is $250,000 to $300,000.
Compared to that, the 1986 Koenig Ferrari Testarossa looks domesticated. Since Strosek had already done side strakes and now Ferrari was doing strakes on the production Testarossa, Strosek’s cure here was to remove the slats and showcase the channel along the flanks. The Koenig trademark front fascia, widebody rear fenders, rear wing and center-lock BBS wheels are all there to see outside. Gooding says Weber limited performance mods to sport springs and shock absorbers, and a Koenig camshaft that might or might not have been installed.
The odometer shows only 9,432 miles, but this had a harder life than the 512 BB. We’re told it runs, but hasn’t had recent maintenance and there are some cosmetic points to address, hence the $100,000 to $150,000 pre-sale estimate.