Industry Insider: KW Suspension Factory Tour, Part 1
By Mike Kojima, photos by Jeff Naeyaert
We were stoked when we got a call from KW Suspension asking if we would like to visit their facilities in Germany a few months ago. We felt like how Charlie in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory must have felt when he found that golden ticket for a tour of a wonderful place. If you don't know who or what KW is, they are the makers of some of the best suspensions available for both the tuner and the professional racing market.
|KW Founder Klaus Wohlfarth is quite a visionary. He is the creator of the world's only, as far as we know, performance suspension company that is OEM quality capable.|
The Willie Wonka of the suspension world is Klaus Wohlfarth, the KW in KW. KW's humble beginnings started when Klaus was not satisfied with the off the shelf suspension offerings for his Opel Kadett race car on the market at the time. Klaus started making threaded strut tubes to use standard racing springs with adjustable ride height that fit Koni racing dampers, at first for Opels, then onto various popular tuner cars all in his home garage.
|Klaus built KW from an operation in his garage to a multimillion dollar state of the art suspension R&D and production facility producing world class street and racing suspension to high ISO and TUV standards.|
Soon the business became too big for the garage. Klaus joined forces with a local racer who had a reputation for being extremely smart, Klaus Frank (who is now KW's chief engineer) and the two moved into a much larger facility located in an old barn. With Klaus Frank's expertise the new KW Company expanded their product line and started to work on there own calibrations using Koni internals, becoming Koni's largest distributor in the process.
|Engineering Genius Klaus Frank has been with KW since the garage days. He is responsible for R&D and Motorsports damper development.|
Soon Koni realized that KW was a strong competitor to their own product line and made the decision to cut KW off from their supply of damper internal components in an effort to eliminate KW. Faced with this crisis Klaus made the decision to further expand the company to engineer and produce their own dampers from the ground up internally. In the meantime they had outgrown the barn and moved into a new from the ground up facility. The company continued to grow and with the flexibility involved with total control of the dampers internals, KW continued to increase their product line and market share, adding hardcore racing dampers to the product line up.
|Klaus preps the best minds in automotive journalism for their tour of the KW facilities.|