Just 30 Isdera Imperator 108is were ever made, and this is one of the rare early models. Estimates predict that it could sell for as much as $1 million at auction.
It takes gumption to make your own car and drive it to Porsche’s headquarters with a view to earning yourself a job, but that’s exactly the kind of spirit embodied by Eberhard Schulz, the man who eventually got that job, and created this automotive curiosity, the Isdera Imperator 108i.
Although it sounds like something out of a Mad Max movie, the seed of the idea behind this car was actually planted in 1978. By that time, Schulz had moved out of Stuttgart, and was working at Mercedes participating in the creation of the CW311 concept car.
Intended to be a modern take on the brand’s legendary 300 SL, the concept car garnered attention for Mercedes, but never became anything more. So Schulz once again decided to make the car for himself.
Between 1984 and 1993, Schulz built 30 of the cars with his own company, Isdera. Translated from German, the name is an acronym for “Engineering Company for Styling, Design, and Racing.”
Mostly the same as the CW311 concept, the cars were powered by Mercedes 5.0-liter V8s mated to a ZF five-speed transmission. One of just 13 cars built before a facelift in 1992, this is one of the rarer examples of the breed.
Paperwork provided with the car shows that it was delivered new to the UK to one M. Thackwell. According to Broad Arrow Auctions, which is handling the sale, it is believed that racecar driver, Mike Thackwell, was the M. in question. One of the youngest people ever to have competed in F1 in his day, the New Zealand-born driver found successes in Formula 2 and 3, as well as in sports car racing.
Painted Porsche Guards Red, and making “well over” 300 hp (224 kW/304 PS), this is a particularly well-preserved example. With just 2,170 miles (3,493 km) on the odometer, the car is expected to sell for between $800,000 and $1,000,000 when it crosses the auction block at Broad Arrows’ Monterey sale, which runs on August 17 and 18.