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1991 Isdera Imperator 108I 'Series 2' Coupé 

"The goal was not just to be different, to satisfy the incessant desire for more polarising concept cars. We built real cars with unique tangible solutions. Timeless in their execution, imbued by our desire to push innovation forward." – Isdera AG. 

The Imperator 108i was born out of the Mercedes-Benz CW311 concept car of 1978, which Eberhard Schulz, who had worked as a design engineer for Porsche, designed in his free time. Mercedes had no interest in putting the CW311 into production but did not stand in Schulz's way when he established his own company, Isdera, to produce the car. Founded in Leonberg, Germany in 1981, the firm takes it name from the portmanteau for 'Ingenieurgesellschaft für Styling, Design und Racing' (Engineering Company for Styling, Design and Racing). The Imperator 108i was produced to individual customer order from 1984 to 1993. Little was changed from the CW311 concept car, the most noticeable alterations being fixed headlights, replacing the original pop-ups, and more conventional taillights, the latter being typical signature parts sourced from Mercedes-Benz. Featuring gullwing doors, the glassfibre body was bonded to a tubular steel spaceframe, and like the early Lamborghini Countach employed a rear-view periscope in place of a conventional mirror. Inside, the luxurious interior incorporated components sourced from the Porsche 928. The original Imperator 108i was powered by a 5.0-litre, 296bhp Mercedes-Benz M117 V8 engine, driving via a ZF five-speed manual gearbox. A top speed of 283km/h was claimed, with the 0-100 km/h dash achieved in 5.1 seconds. Other Mercedes-Benz engines were used in later examples. The Imperator's suspension was pretty much the norm for a 1990s supercar: coil-sprung independent all round by double wishbones at the front, with upper and lower transverse links at the rear. There were, of course, disc brakes all round and the Imperator came with power-assisted steering as standard. In 1991, the Imperator received a facelift that saw pop-up headlights return and the body restyled along less angular, more curvaceous lines. Vents were added above the front wheel arches and the wide bonnet scoop replaced with a single offset NACA duct. At the same time the front grille was redesigned, and the front indicators moved to the wing extremities. Published figures vary with regard to how many of these 'Series 2' cars were made, ranging from 13 to 17. An exclusive supercar for the connoisseur, this 'Series 2' example was built in left-hand drive configuration and the Japanese customer chose Mercedes-Benz's traditional 'Silver Arrows' livery for his car, contrasting with the black leather interior.

On sale by Bonhams

Isdera, Ingenieurbüro für Styling Design und Racing - Leonberg, Germania.


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