Who is Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue and why should we care? He is the playboy son of a West African dictator who has been living the high life in the capitals of Europe. He also collects extremely rare supercars such as the Aston Martin One-77, the Bugatti Veyron, and, most notably, the Koenigsegg One:1. Just for the record, Mangue’s skill set includes embezzlement and other forms of corruption plus burning through loads of cash that are meant for the impoverished people of his country, Equatorial Guinea.
Despite a 2011 brush with French law enforcement in which some of his cars were auctioned off, Mangue didn’t clean up his crooked, car-collecting ways. In 2016, Swiss authorities investigated him and seized 11 supercars from his collection. Although Mangue is now in the wind, Kristen Lee at Jalopnik reports about a conflict brewing over one of the cars, the Koenigsegg One:1. And it’s at this point where the plot really begins to thicken.
The Real Value of a Supercar
This is a true story, not a storyline for an episode of one those investigative TV shows. It’s about the value of one of the rarest supercars in the world which, it turns out, is in the eye of the beholder.
The charges of money laundering and unfair management of public interests against the jet-setting kleptocrat were dropped. But Swiss authorities have decided to put his treasure hoard of cars, valued at $13 million, up for auction. The State of Geneva has hired Bonhams, an international auction house, to hold the auction on September 29. The proceeds will go to social programs that will help the people of Equatorial Guinea.
The trouble with the Koenigsegg One:1 began when Bonhams published what it estimated the cars would fetch on auction. The auction house announced that the One:1 would be sold without reserve between $1.8 million and $2.3 million.
The Indignation that Is Koenigsegg
When Koenigsegg heard about the price of the One:1, it lashed out at Bonhams and questioned whether the auction house could be trusted to make fair appraisals. In a biting company blog post, the Swedish automaker accused Bonhams of failing to use accurate market data to make an estimate that was “way under market value”. Furthermore, Koenigsegg insisted that the auctioneer revisit the supercar’s pricing.
Koenigsegg believes that the One:1 is worth much more than $2 million, and it may be right. Back in 2015, when the supercar was new, it cost $2.9 million. Last year, according to DriveTribe, one reportedly sold for over $7 million.
The automaker also said that it had submitted offers that were higher than Bonhams’ estimate but those offers were refused.
The Car behind the Contention
Koenigsegg’s cold fury is understandable. The automaker is among only a few that produce boutique supercars—hypercars, really—in the world. And the Koenigsegg One:1, one of only six built not counting a prototype, is ridiculously fast. In 2015, clocking 0 to 186 mph in 17.95 seconds, the 1,341-hp One:1 was reported to be the fastest production car in the world at the time.
The supercar was dubbed One:1 because it delivered 1 metric hp for every kilogram of weight, including the driver and a half a tank of gas, which translates into 1,341 hp and 2,988 lbs.
In 2017, Koenigsegg broke a top speed record for a production car on a public road in Nevada, this time with the ultra-quick Agera RS. At 277.9 mph, the Agera smashed a record set by the Nazis in 1938.
A rare car with that kind of speed is no mere Ferrari copycat. The One:1 is, in the opinion of the Swedish automaker, worth much more than $2 million, even a used one that has been bought with dirty money. To put the situation into even more perspective, the asking price for Koenigsegg’s mid-engine “megacar” Jesko this year is close to $3 million.
Fast, Furious but Spinning Its Wheels?
Taking Bonhams to task for a lowball price on the One:1 didn’t seem to work out the way that Koenigsegg hoped. Thus far, the auction house has not changed the price for the supercar nor has it responded to Koenigsegg’s wrath. It seems as if the automaker has no recourse in the matter, except online censure.
So, if you can pony up $2 million to buy a supercar that has both blistering speed and a touch of notoriety, you can get a pretty sweet deal.