This Isdera Imperator came, saw, and conquered 1991


One of the most obscure supercars ever built is heading to auction. The Isdera Imperator is based on a Mercedes-Benz concept car of the 1970s, and it went into very limited production from 1984 to 1993. Just 30 examples were built and this Imperator is one of the last ones, built in 1991.

The Imperator story began when Porsche design engineer Eberhard Schulz created his Mercedes CW311 concept car in 1978. Mercedes didn’t take the bait, so Schulz founded his own company to bring the car to life.

Isdera Imperator 4

The first car emerged from his factory in 1984, identical to the original concept, save for new front and rear lights. Power came from a five-liter Benz V-8, driving the rear wheels via a five-speed ZF manual transmission, giving a top speed close to 180 mph, and a o-60 time of five seconds. The exotic bodywork was fiberglass, draped over a tubular steel spaceframe, while for the inside Schulz borrowed from his former employer, and many parts came from the Porsche 928. As if the gullwing doors and classic wedge shape didn’t draw enough attention, the Imperator had a periscope fitted to the roof in lieu of a rear-view mirror.

This 1991 Imperator 108i is a facelifted model, which had a slightly softer look to its body and returned to the pop-up style headlamps which appeared on Schulz’s original concept car. The car is offered for sale by Bonhams at its upcoming “Les Grandes Marques à Monaco” sale on April 23. The estimated hammer price is an imperious $600,000–$833,000.

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