There was a time, not all that long ago, when the concept of a modified Ferrari would have been abhorrent to many - perhaps it still is to a good number of PHers. In today's automotive landscape, however, with the likes of Mansory, Kahn and Liberty Walk becoming more prominent by the day, those companies which dared to break with protocol in decades past have gained a newfound cachet. Owners of Ruf, Gembella and Koenig machines are enjoying the multiplying effect of their products being rare, exotic and 'vintage'. That, plus the rise in values of the models on which they were based, means they can now be found listed for some serious sums.
It's the latter brand which we want to focus on today, though. Its founder, Willy Koenig, was a gentleman racer, who among other things claimed victory in the 1962 German Hillclimbing Championship, a feat he accomplished at the wheel of a Ferrari 250 GT SWB. This led to a personal summons from Enzo Ferrari himself, who held an event in his honour at Maranello. He was no chump, then, so when in 1974 Willy found the performance of his new Ferrari 365 GT4 BB to be underwhelming compared to the racers he had become accustomed to, his penchant for fettling began.
His products soon gained a strong reputation both at home and abroad, with celebrities including F1 driver Gehard Berger and Hollywood superstar Silvester Stallone buying into the brand, and Road & Track dubbing him "one of Germany's leading tuners". But it wasn't long before he fell foul of his former admirer, Enzo Ferrari demanding that Koenig remove all Ferrari badging from his modified creations, deeming them no longer to be products of the Maranello stable.
Today's Spotted, a Koenig F48 based on Ferrari's 348 is one of just two such RHD cars in the UK. The other, a red example with just 9,000 miles on the clock, was listed on PH six years ago for £34,995 - an amount which one forum poster of the time deemed to be "overpriced by £7-8k at least". Well, 4leks, we hope you're not looking now, because this car is advertised at £149,990.
For that princely sum one lucky buyer will get a full widebody conversion, multi-piece OZ wheels, carbon ceramic brakes, uprated suspension, a new ECU, intercooler and, oh yes, a pair of turbos bolted on to the 3.4-litre V8 engine. Whatever you think of the end product, the modifications made it capable of a 0-62mph time of just 4.4 seconds, which is healthy even by today's standards. And where commenters on that 2013 car sited its low mileage as evidence of a lack of useability, this car's 40,000-mile odometer reading speaks to the contrary.
The styling certainly won't be to all tastes, then, and there'll always be those who would never look twice at a modified Ferrari, but Koenig's efforts are certainly not to be dismissed as merely being costly MR2 conversions. Whether you could bring yourself to put the money into this over a mint condition 355, though? That's a debate which we imagine will rage just as strongly today as it did six years and over £100,000 ago...
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