SEMA 2018: Koni Partners With Runge Cars, Launches New Active Shocks

The Koni Shock Absorbers booth had some extra bling added to it’s display this year at the 2018 SEMA Show as it introduced some new offerings to its Special ACTIVE shock line and announced a partnership with custom coach builder Runge Cars.  Christopher Runge has made a name for himself making one-off, hand-built pieces of rolling art with a post-war German flair. The collaboration with Koni came from a need for both form and function, as Runge Cars are made to be driven as well as shown.

The Runge RS and Runge Flyer were on display in the Koni booth. These are truly hand-built, one-of-a-kind creations.

Two Runge Cars were on display, one finished Runge RS and one in-progress Runge Flyer to showcase the talent involved in crafting the cars from the Minnesota shop. When we said “bling” above, we meant it; a finished Runge car is a photographer’s nightmare. The hand-formed aluminum body panels, polished to a mirror finish, are like taking a picture of a spherical mirror — impossible to not reflect something. To see craftsmanship at that level up close is mind boggling to know they were formed by hand.

Christopher Runge partnered with Koni to provide suspension for his one-off custom cars. Photo: Jeff Ford

The Runge RS is a roadster that pulls design ideas from the RSK and Spyder racers blended with Maserati and Ferrari styling cues of the 1950s. A beautifully curvaceous body design flows throughout the car, while fully functioning duct and louver work accentuate the racing aspects. The two-seat cockpit utilizes a steel-tube frame with a mid-engine design for the four-cylinder powerplant.

The beautiful curvaceous body design with highly polished aluminum panels flows from front to rear. The design pulls from racers of the '50s like the RSK and Spyder, with hints of Maserati and Ferrari styling cues.

The flat-four air-cooled engine is pumping out 159 horsepower, which should be more than enough to motivate the little roadster. The engine is connected to a four-speed “Longbox” transaxle for easy highway cruising. Four-wheel disc brakes are hidden behind the “Wide Five” Wheels (5×205 bolt pattern). Vintage, period-correct mechanical components behind the Runge steering wheel keep tabs on the vitals for the driver while he sits in the leather-trimmed cockpit.

Attention to detail is relentless in a Runge designed car. No detail is left untouched; the unique badging, louvered vents, gas filler door, mirrors, and the vintage style gauges and steering wheel all show the craftsmanship of Runge Cars.

The Runge Flyer was displayed in in-progress form so people could see how these one-off killer creations are made. Inspired by the post WWII “Eigenbau” racers of Germany, it is one stunning piece of engineering. It hearkens back to the days of Walter Glockler, Petermax Muller, and Otto Mathe all rallied their lightweight aluminum, air-cooled powered cars to victory in those glorious days. Like the RS, the Flyer is also a mid-engined, steel-tube frame with hand-formed, polished aluminum body panels fitted on a “Superleicht” buck. Both cars are truly stunning to see in person and a perfect fit for Koni to showcase its commitment to grassroots partnerships.

This Runge Flyer is being built for client, but Runge brought it along to show the work involved in creating an original, hand-built creation. Formed on an aluminum buck and powered by a mid-engined Flat Four.

Everything is well-thought out on these cars, from the placement of the oil filter, to the cool one-off badging on the Koni shocks.

Koni has had a long-standing relationship with grassroots organizations such as the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) by supporting regional and national racing programs, including Track Night in America, which is introducing many newcomers to the capabilities of their cars in a controlled environment. Through programs like this, Koni is able to improve its product technology and range. It is always introducing new things to the market each year and the 2018 SEMA Show is a perfect local to introduce the latest and greatest.

Koni introduced its Special ACTIVE line earlier this year and embarked on the ACTIVATE the Nation tour to show off what they could do. Special ACTIVE addresses the age-old compromise of performance versus ride quality. Utilizing the most recent generation of KONI’s patented Frequency Selective Damping Technology (ACTIVE Technology), it controls large body motions and cornering forces but smooths expansion joints and rough roads for improved comfort. At the SEMA booth, Koni showed expansion of that line for some popular models including SUVs, Corvette, Mini Cooper, and Mazda 3.

Four new Special ACTIVE kits were introduced in the booth at SEMA including C5 and C6 Corvettes, Mini Cooper S, and Mazda 3.

For owners of 1997 through 2013 (C5 & C6) Corvettes, they’ve had the performance they were looking for, but that usually meant enduring a harsher ride. The Special ACTIVE front dampers bring a refined level of comfort to “America’s Sports Car.”

2002 through 2006 Mini Cooper S is a popular little sporty car, but it came with run-flat tires which give a bit of a harsh ride. Changing the front strut to a Special ACTIVE strut will tame that problem.

The 2004 through 2009 Mazda 3 is a solid and reliable family sedan that could stand a boost in both performance and ride quality. Koni partnered with Eibach to offer the 1165 Special ACTIVE Kit. This kit combines the new-generation FSD control with Eibach’s Pro-Kit lowering springs to pep up the sedan for active driving.

All of the kits are now available for customers to upgrade their cars. Got to Koni’s website for additional information and to keep up on the latest technology rolling out of the factory. I’m sure there will be more news on Runge and what he is up to also. For more TURNology SEMA coverage, go HERE!

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About the author

Shawn Brereton

Shawn is a lifelong car enthusiast who appreciates all things automotive. He is the proud owner of a blown '55 Chevy, a daily-driven '66 Fairlane with an '09 GT500 drivetrain, and a '96 Miata track car.
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