Feb 1 2015
1993 Isdera Commendatore 112i
After the successful Isdera Imperator 108i, Eberhard Schulz started working on another project. It took almost 6 years, from 1988 to 1993, and 4 M $ to develop the Isdera Commendatore 112i.
This hand-built high-performance supercar was built in Leonberg, Germany and was based on designs produced by Eberhard Schulz and his sons. It was completed as a pre-production prototype which was to be followed by a limited series with a unit cost of $450 000 USD.
The sleek bodywork was hand built and featured a roof mounted, periscope-style rear view mirror. The shape is somewhat reminiscent of the long tail vehicles of the legendary Le Mans race cars. In the Mercedes-Benz wind tunnel, Commendatore 112i had a Cd value of 0.306. Many of the mechanics are borrowed from Mercedes-Benz while the styling drew inspiration from Porsches racing program, such as the Porsche 968 and 917. Wheel suspension, brakes and anti-lock systems have all been taken from the Porsche 928 GTS, while the headlights come from the 968.
The gullwing doors were matched by gullwing engine covers hiding a Mercedes-Benz 6L, V12 engine. Producing about 408hp (300kW) at 5200 rpm and 580 Nm at 3600 rpm, Commendatore 112i could go from 0 – 100 km/ 60 mph in 4.7 seconds reaching a top speed of 343 km/h (213 mph). All that power was sent to the rear wheels by a Getrag six-speed manual transmission borrowed from Porsche’s 911 Turbo.Schulz has made extensive modifications to fit the manual transmission to the engine, ingluding building his own fly-wheel. He also enlisted the help of Bosch to adapt the engine’s electronics (which was done with Mercedes autorization).
It requires a little bit of gymnastics to climb over the two extremely wide door sills (both of which house fuel tanks). Once inside, the driver is faced with Mercedes instrumentation altered to read up to 400 Kmh.(240 mhph). The Commendatore 112i weighed 1,450 kg (3,197 lb).
To improve handling at speed, the vehicle has been equipped with a velocity-sensitive electronic chassis which lowers the car three inches. An active air brake and an active suspension were the headline features, but the low drag body—and flat underfloor—showed the world that Isdera was capable of producing a cutting-edge design. Under braking the wing shifts to an ulmost upright position, serving as a more subtle version of a drag racer parachute, killing forward momentum as fast as possible. It also had the windshield wiper from a high speed train, because of reasons.
Commendatore means “Knight Commander” in Italian, this title being used when one is awarded knighthood in Italy. Interestingly, Enzo Ferrari’s nickname was “Il Commendatore.” Some said that the Commendatore 112i was named in honor of Enzo Ferrari, because he was known as “Il Commendatore”, “the monk Maranello” and “Pope of motor racing.” 112i can have more meanings. One is that it reveals the number of cylinders which drive the car. (V12). On the other side, the number could be borrowed from 1991 Mercedes-Benz C112 concept.
This is one of the most mysterious supercars of our time. This one-of prototype is such a rare sight, that its photos, outside of the shots from the car’s release during the 1993 Frankfurt Auto Show, are hard to come by. The 112i was featured in the video game 1997 Need for Speed II.
Unfortunately, before any production Commendatores were made, Isdera went bankrupt and the remainder of the company was sold to Swiss interests. This left the sole prototype for the world and, since Schulz was particularly experienced at creating advanced prototypes, it was finished as a fully drivable and roadworthy machine.
However in the late 90’s Isdera (now in the hands of some Swiss investors) decided to take another stab at it; the Commendatore ditched the periscope style rearview mirror (bummer), lost the fancy gold BBS style rims and upgraded its engine to a newer, more powerful Mercedes-Benz 6.9L, DOHC, V12, 48V. In 1999, another fully functional prototype called the Silver Arrow C112i was born.
The vehicle shared the same body and chassis as the 1993 Commendatore 112i, but was powered by a Mercedes-Benz 6.9L, 611 HP (456 kW), V12. The car’s top speed was recorded at 230 mph (370 km/h). At the time of its introduction, the Silver Arrow was the only car in the world to feature an automatically lifting airbrake.
Silver Arrow 112i weighs only 1,575 KG including full standard trim, ABS, Air conditioning, spare wheel, etc.). Equipped with Brembo braking system, the effect of braking is also supported by the adjustable rear spoiler. This is when applying the brakes up to 80°.
Like all Isdera sports car, the Silver Arrow 112i is also fully fit to travel. He has a temporary spare wheel, 200 liters of cargo space, standard air conditioning and a 120-liter fuel tank. Unlike its competitors, and also to its effect on photos, the type 112 is very compact in size, only 4.66 m long, 1.88 m wide and 1.04 m high.
The previously elusive Isdera Commendatore 112i was put up for sale on e-bay at the end of 2005, the owner asked for a starting bid of $3,000,000.00. At the time of the auction, the car was located in Switzerland.
Two were made, but after difficulties in selling it to customers, Isdera again stepped out of the limelight until its next car was revealed. But about Autobahnkurier AK116i I will speak in another post. Stay tunned.