Subaru nearly beat Mercedes to a Formula 1-powered hypercar, sort of.
Koenigsegg fans will know that aside from the Gemera, every production model hailing from the Swedish hypercar manufacturer has been powered by a V8, but that nearly wasn't the case, as an early prototype vehicle had something completely different: a Subaru-developed flat-12 from a Formula 1 car. It's a detail you won't find in most histories of the Koenigsegg brand.
Because Koenigsegg fans are the obsessive sort, there are dedicated Koenigsegg registries that track every chassis and build in great detail. Egg Registry has one of, if not the most, complete databases in the world and shared details of chassis #7XX1 recently. While the prototype is officially known as the CCV8S or XP003, a precursor to the production CC8S, it's little known that it once housed a Formula 1 engine in its early development stages.
The prototype went through several incarnations, even after it was first revealed to the public in the year 2000, and was most commonly known to have a 4.6-liter Ford-based V8 engine producing 655 horsepower. Production Koenigseggs would ultimately use this engine, but three years before the show car was revealed, it had a 3.8-liter flat-12 with a 9,000-rpm redline.
This motor was a road-legal derivative of Subaru's failed F1 engine from the 1989/1990 F1 season (a 12,000-rpm 3.5-liter) codeveloped with Motori Moderni. It had failed in F1 because it was too heavy and didn't generate enough power to rival the other engine suppliers, making for a short-lived concept. But in a Koenigsegg chassis, it could've been something particularly unique.
First of all, it would've given the hypercars a remarkably low center of gravity, as the engine would've been lower at its highest point than the top of the wheels. And it was remarkably smooth, so it would've produced minimal vibration.
Koenigsegg had bought out Motori Moderni's assets in 1999, which included spare parts, castings, blueprints, and more, but it ultimately failed to materialize in a 'Segg product.
Allegedly, even though Christian von Koenigsegg was a fan of the motor, it simply wasn't powerful enough, and even if turbocharged, it would've only achieved a 750-hp rating. For a man who owns a Miata, Christian might have seemed like he was in no position to bemoan 'only' 750 hp, but as subsequent Koenigseggs have proven, the company loves big power figures. We also forget how big a number 750 hp used to be.
The blueprints and castings were all handmade, too, and weren't in great condition, meaning a lot of work would have to be done to re-engineer the motor.
Koenigsegg ultimately went with the Ford-based engine, which served the brand until the CCR ended production, after which an in-house engine was developed for the CCX.
Would a Boxer-12 have been more exotic? Perhaps. Was dropping it the right call? Certainly.
Keyword: One-Off Koenigsegg Prototype Had A Subaru-Developed Formula 1 Flat-12