KW Suspensions Deep Dive
The very quiet town of Fichtenberg Germany is by all accounts your typical small German community. The town’s name translates to “Spruce Mountain” referring to the evergreen-like trees seen throughout the hills. Surrounded by this beautiful country side and tucked away from the world, you’d be hard pressed to realize that this is the center where some of the most dedicated suspension engineers on the planet do their work. This is KW Suspensions.
Lets Go Racing!
KW Suspensions started with the most humble aspirations. Klaus Wohlfarth, KWs founder and from whom KW gets its name, was just a driving enthusiast like you and me. Klaus and his brother Jürgen funded their automotive passion through a a small aftermarket parts shop and office space under the name “KW Tuning”, and were regulars to local track events. It was on the race track where Klaus Wohlfarth met Klaus Frank, a fellow enthusiast with an uncanny ability to feel and sort out a cars road handling characteristics. The two quickly became friends and indeed business partners as Klaus Frank was soon hired as KWs Chief Engineer. Starting with a team of only four people with a small office and a hand full of tables, Klaus Wohlfarth and Klaus Frank started on their dream to change the world.
In the mid 90’s, the brothers Wohlfarth modified suspension systems to further their racing dreams. Often times becoming frustrated as no single manufacture provided all the features and benefits they demanded from their track experience. They partnered with the best, learned from the best, and continued making improvements to the status quo, eventually buying out many of the key internal parts and valves used by the larger big OEMs such as Koni. KW felt no-one offered the kind of adjustable coilover suspension system that they themselves would want to use. The obvious solution: if it doesn’t exist yet… make it yourself.
If you build it…
As their devotion to motorsport perfection grew, so did their aspirations. KW Suspensions size of operations continued to expand, from a single 75 square meter office space just selling performance parts, to a larger 150 square meter building dedicated to coilover construction and testing. From here their ground breaking Height Adjustable Springs and V1 Coilover line gained traction in the enthusiast market. As the first officially approved complete suspension system by the TUV in 1995, KWs reputation for top level engineering and build quality had been vindicated. Being TUV approved meant their suspension kits were of a high enough quality and safety standard that they could be marketed and sold to the public for general automotive use.
While originally going with Koni shock bodies and modifying them to function better in different vehicles, KWs drive for suspension perfection continued on to the point where internal valves and piston designs were changed and tweaked on a regular basis. While this kind of extensive modification and repurposing soured the relationship between Koni and KW, it was the birth of KWs own in-house shock and coilover manufacturing. In KWs eyes, you learn from the best, then you become the best.
Setting Down Roots
In a mere 5 years from Klaus Wohlfarths humble beginnings selling performance parts, by 1997 groundbreaking began on what would become the world-wide headquarters for KW Suspensions manufacturing, R&D, and technical support/race prep. This initially massive 1050 square meter manufacturing plant and administration building marked just the beginning of the massive success and growth KW would experience in the years to follow.
KW’s name now firmly established, and large production and testing facility ready; the KW Suspensions Racing Team stuck their foot back into the door of professional in-house motorsport development.
Competing in the still very new German DTC series (German Touring-Car Cup), KW raced with two of their company owned DC2 Integras as well as a sponsored Accord team, as a way to dynamically showcase and test their suspension and engineering experience. DTC racing represents the pinnacle of production car professional racing, limiting the amount of custom fabrication and chassis development found in higher tier motorsports such as DTM. This gauntlet was the perfect test bed for KW Suspensions club-sport and competition line. It proved not only the durability of KWs products, but also the deep motorsport dedication they have to continually develop, tweak, and perfect a suspensions design throughout the racing season. One year later in 2000, KW had gone from the in-house underdog to principle suspension partner and technical advisors for race teams across Germany and around the world
To become the best, you need to be the best
Since then, for almost two decades, KW has continued to push the limits of suspension development all without sacrificing materials or build quality. Countless teams have won due to the continued product development and track support KW has become famous for. Be it winning a 24hr endurance race at the Nurburgring, becoming the OEM supplier for many high performance automotive brands, or simply offering the best drop-in coilover solution for your aging E30 BMW; KW has delivered on all fronts. Everything is still built by hand without having materials outsourced through a private label. Just as KW built their original prototype systems in 1995, the same level of precision, testing, and a true sense of craftsmanship holds true to this day.