1984 – 1993 Isdera Imperator 108i

As we know, in 1978, Eberhard Schulz finished the Mercedes-Benz CW311 in partnership with Reiner Buchmann and his B + B tuning company. But Mercedes-Benz was not interested in mass-production of the CW311.

1984 Isdera Imperator 108ired 1984-isdera-imperator-108i-3
We have to consider that Mercedes-Benz didn’t put the C111 into production and C111 was entirely conceived by Mercedes-Benz engineers. So how can they consider producing a car that had a lot of parts taken from Porsche? Nevertheless, Mercedes-Benz allowed Schulz to produce the vehicle under his own brand while supplying the engine and other necessary components.

red 1984-isdera-imperator-108i-2red 1984-isdera-imperator-108i-4
Now that I think of it, Eberhard Schulz spent over 6 years into developing the Cw311. It would have been a shame for all that work to come to an end in that one concept, which will most likely end up in a museum.

yellow 1992-isdera-imperator-108i-2yellow 1992-isdera-imperator-108i-3
After 1979 Eberhard Schulz and Reiner Buchmann separated and in 1981 Eberhard founded his own company, ISDERA. ISDERA comes from Ingenieurbüro für Styling, DEsign und RAcing (Engineering company for Styling, Design and Racing).

yellow 1992-isdera-imperator-108i-1yellow 1992-isdera-imperator-108i-5
The company Isdera was founded in 1981, near Sttutgart, in Leonberg, Germany. Its first car, the Spyder 033, was presented in 1982. Some other vehicles in the company’s history are the 1985 Spyder 033-16 and 1987 Spyder 036i. Each model was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, Switzerland.

yellow 1992-isdera-imperator-108i-6yellow 1992-isdera-imperator-108i-4
At the Geneva Motor Show in 1984, the Isdera Imperator 108i was presented. This was the production version of the former study, Mercedes-Benz CW311. Of course, the Mercedes star was removed from the grille to the benefit of the brand logo, a raptor about to seize its prey.

green  1992-isdera-imperator-108i-2green  1992-isdera-imperator-108i-3
The Isdera Imperator 108i had a different wheelbase and was larger than is predecessor. They were made longer or larger to provide space for future different engines and for the occupants to sit more comfortably.

green  1992-isdera-imperator-108i-6green  1992-isdera-imperator-108i-5
Implementing a fiberglass body upon a tubular steel spaceframe, the Isdera Imperator 108i was comparable to the Lamborghinis of its day. Although the body looked smooth, its aerodynamic drag coefficient was a disappointing 0.38. Well, at least its frontal area was reduced by using a roof-mounted periscope as rear-view mirror. It also featured gullwing doors. The earliest car used a standard 5-liter V8, M117 engine with 235 horsepower as you would find in Mercedes 500SEL. That did no justice to its supercar looks and chassis. Priced at 250.000 marks, a stereo and a car phone were included.

green  1992-isdera-imperator-108i-9green  1992-isdera-imperator-108i-4
However, whenever a more powerful V8 was available, Mercedes would generously allow Isdera to share it.

blue 1984-isdera-imperator-108i-9blue 1984-isdera-imperator-108i-8
Later engines included:

  • 6 L (5,600 cc) Mercedes-Benz M117, V8 engine with 221 kW/300Hp. 0 -100 was achieved in 5.8 seconds, one second faster than the previous engine. It was in a league with Porsche and Ferrari, the “Oldtimer Markt” experts said.

1984 Isdera Imperator 108iblue 1984-isdera-imperator-108i-7

  • 6 L (5,600 cc) AMG V8 with 390Hp top speed of 292 km/h. According to a supercars group test conducted by German magazine Auto Motor und Sport in 1987 at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Leissen test track (which was also published by Road & Track magazine), a 390hp Imperator 108i topped 176 mph, accelerated from rest to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds and 100 mph in 10.8 seconds. Although it turned out to be the slowest in the field, its performance was nearly as good as the mighty Lamborghini Countach QV, which was quite an achievement for a little known German supercar maker.

blue 1984-isdera-imperator-108i-1blue 1984-isdera-imperator-108i-2

  • 0 L (6,000 cc) AMG V8 with 420Hp. Both AMG engines featuring advanced 32-valve cylinder heads. Imperator has the best refinements of the time, the cabin is fully stretched leather, hi-fi sound tip is installed just like a mobile phone. Color is the customer’s choice, while the ABS and catalyst are optional.

blue 1984-isdera-imperator-108i-5blue 1984-isdera-imperator-108i-6
While never the fastest supercar of its day, it was certainly one of the rarest and most intriguing – and quick enough to be an emperor of the autobahn.

Creme 1984 Isdera Imperator 108i 1Creme 1984 Isdera Imperator 108i 2
The first version was made from 1984 to 1991. From 1991 until 1993 a facelift version was produced. The Series II is even closer to the CW311 with headlights on doors and side exhausts.  Less visible, pedestrian protection in the event of a frontal impact has been optimized and a streamlined wiper mechanism was added. Traditional mirrors are even available on request.  The interior, still one of the largest in its class, was however, only slightly revised. Despite the changes of nearly 60% of all parts the total character of the 1975 supercar form is retained.

Silver 1991 Isdera Imperator 108i 5Silver 1991 Isdera Imperator 108i 8
Changes from model year 1991:

– meet the stringent Swiss exhaust and noise regulations
– improved pedestrian impact protection
– ABS as standard
– side air outlets
– concealed Headlights with patented folding mechanism
– Aerodynamic improvements to the body.
– body under the new international rules adapted
– new engine generation from Mercedes-Benz
– modified exhaust system that now ends laterally

Silver 1991 Isdera Imperator 108i 9Silver 1991 Isdera Imperator 108i 10
Catalyst series changes from model year 1993:

– Brembo high performance brake system with ABS
– larger brake discs
– conversion to 17-inch wheels (9Jx17 front and rear 13Jx17).

Silver 1991 Isdera Imperator 108i 1Silver 1991 Isdera Imperator 108i 7
Tyres: 245/40 ZR17 front and 335/35 ZR17 rear
– tank capacity of 110 liters

Silver 1991 Isdera Imperator 108i 4Silver 1991 Isdera Imperator 108i 2
Larger engines:

  • Mercedes-Benz V8 32-valve 5000 cc, 243/330 kW / HP, 300 km / h Vmax, 5.2 sec 0-100 km / h
  • Mercedes-Benz V8 32-valve 6000 cc, 302/410 kW / HP, 320 km / h Vmax, 5.0 sec 0-100 km / h

maxresdefault (1)Silver 1991 Isdera Imperator 108i 3
Body: Weight 1,410 kg, L / W / H: 4,220 / 1,835 / 1,135 mm

Nobody really knows how many Isdera Imperator 108i were made but the Isdera founder said that all of them are functional. Along the years some of them were for sale and others were filmed on the race track.

One of the 1991 Imperator 108i was for sale in Japan, in 2010. Click HERE.