Through life with 400 horse power

Rainer Küschall was 16 years old when he became quadraplegic. Since then mobility is a big issue, for him and for hundreds of thousands of other wheelchair users. This is a story about the life and fast moving hobbies of a man whose developments and designs have written wheelchair history.

My name is Rainer Küschall. I suffered a multiple break in my neck in a sports accident in 1963 and since then I am active in wheelchair sports. "Ultimately I made my profession out of making ultra light, custom made wheelchairs."

This is a short self description of a man, who lives a fulfilled and content life with his disability. Along with this he spent the first few years with quadraplegia after his swimming accident without the slightest mobility. In the 1960's, there was nobody there to help or motivate him in terms of reintegration into society. Traditionally one was committed to a home and was only allowed to leave having successfully completing training as a tradesman. At that time he was already 30 years old and had taken his first apartment. All of a sudden began for Rainer a life of self-dependency which was up until then completely unknown. From then on he focused everything on regaining his lost mobility and with it his identity.

Portrait of Rainer Küschall (Picture: Rainer Küschall)
Portrait of Rainer Küschall (Picture: Rainer Küschall)

Success with a self-designed wheelchair

After his accident Rainer Küschall became a real wheelchair sports freak. He felt however severe limitations in everyday life as well as in sport, these limitations were caused by the functions or better said the malfunctions of his wheelchair. He didn't allow himself to become discouraged and he definitely did not want to have to get used to these limitations. If a wheelchair was going to be his fulltime companion then it should at least be optimally adjusted to meet his needs. As a man of actions, he began himself to think about how he could build a better wheelchair. Three weeks, he told the newspaper "Reha- treff" in an interview in 2005 that he had his wheel chair mounted on the kitchen table. After this it was clear for him what he was going to change.

A wheelchair designer with clear plans

When he told a friend about his plan, he was fully enthused by the idea. So enthusiastic that he ordered and paid for one of the wheelchairs without even seeing it finished. That was the beginning of Rainer Küschalls self-employment. In 1978 at the age of 31 he founded the company "Küschall of Switzerland". In the years to follow he designed numerous wheelchairs and worked together with a team of engineers on the realisation of his objectives. The success of this collaboration was confirmed by the many prizes, among others an award from the "Museum of Modern Art" in New York for the best design. Rainer Küschalls Company has left its mark more than any other company and with models like Champion, Competition or K4 has written a large part of wheelchair history. Today Küschall AG is known all over the world and has just delivered its 100'000 wheelchair. By the way each one of these 100'000 is custom made, they are all optimally adjust to each specific profile.

60 years old and not a bit tired

Beside his work in the firm Rainer Küschall also devotes himself to sport, and that at a high level. He has won no fewer than 21 Olympic medals at 7 Paralympic games. In doing this he also set world records in many different disciplines. He has achieved what was up until now unimaginable speed in the 100 metres as well as being one of the worlds best marathon athletes.
His major passion of the last 6 years is motor racing. He drives all the slalom and mountain races with his AC Cobra, you could however also meet him on the circuit tracks like Dijon or Hockenheim-Ring. The special appeal for Rainer Küschall is going to the edge of possibility, continually pushing the limits. Accidents are also however par for the course. "Once I drove into a balustrade during a mountain race, on the track, I left the course once and ended up in the crash barrier and last year at Hockenheim as I wanted to brake on a straightway one of the front wheels broke off". The newest project for 2007 is to compete with an Irish "Crosslé" race car; a high tech car designed for international circuit racing

He has already notched up several podium places and some Grand-Prix victories and is therefore one of the most experienced drivers on the racing circuit. When he opens up the hand throttle of his AC Cobra with suction transmission and peppers across the tarmac with 400 horse power, no one can see a sign of retirement on the horizon.

Author: Cornelia Barthel - MyH