HomeThe MarketRM Sotheby’s lands a unicorn for its Paris auction

RM Sotheby’s lands a unicorn for its Paris auction

One-off Isdera Commendatore was and remains a futuristic creation


An automotive unicorn, that was (and is) the Isdera Commendatore 112i, a one-off creation that debuted in 1993 and that now has been consigned to RM Sotheby’s annual Paris auction, scheduled for Retromobile week in February 2021.

The car will be offered at no reserve and RM Sotheby’s has not announced a pre-sale estimated value for the car, however noting that,  “It would not be surprising to see the Commendatore 112i attracting lots of attention at concours events in the coming years, alongside comparable boutique supercars developed in the 1990s, such as the Koenigsegg CC8S or Pagani Zonda C12s.”

Isdera is short for — take a deep breath — Ingenieurgesellschaft fur Styling, Design, und Racing mbH of Leonberg, Germany. The company was founded by Eberhard Schulz, a designer and engineer who built his first sports car, the Erator GTE, in 1971. He later worked at Porsche, and then joined B&B gmbH & Co Auto KG of Frankfurt, where in 1978 he helped develop the CW311 prototype, a car based on Mercedes-Benz mechanicals and displayed at the Frankfurt show.

RM Sotheby’s reports that Schulz went on his own in 1982 with Isdera, which a year later presented the Isdera Spyder, a mid-engine sports car powered by 3.2- and 3.6-liter 6-cylinder Mercedes engines, at the Geneva show. He followed up a year later with the Imperator, a V8-powered coupe with a top speed of 180 mph. RM Sotheby’s adds that as many as 20 examples of the Imperator were produced, the last in 1991.

But what Schulz really wanted to do, we’re told, was to develop a production version of the CW311, and thus the Commendatore 112i, which he named in honor of Enzo Ferrari.

The car has a 6.o-liter Mercedes V12 rated at more than 400 horsepower and a one-off flywheel and modified RUF Porsche 6-speed transmission. The low-slung aerodynamic body was tested in the Mercedes wind tunnel, where it recorded an 0.306 coefficient of drag and was judged capable of more than 200 mph.

The car developed something of a cult following after being featured in the 1997 Need for Speed II video game and, after an infusion of money from a Swiss consortium, the Commendatore was displayed as “the Silver Arrow” at the 1999 Frankfurt show.

Without details on what happened in the interim, RM Sotheby’s reports that Isdera, which does consulting research and development for a variety of automakers and is working its own electric-powered GT, reacquired the car in 2016 and returned it to its 1993 specification. 

“Offered for sale in this specification, the car boasts its correct BBS wheels, Porsche Arctic Silver paintwork, Recaro blue and black trim and the iconic Isdera periscope rearview mirror,” RM Sotheby’s adds.

“Today, it has covered less than 10,500 km from new. Having been rebuilt with road-use in mind, the car is currently registered in Germany and was previously registered in Switzerland, showcasing that this is no museum piece, and a car best enjoyed on the open road.

“It is accompanied by an intriguing history file, as well as its certificate of authenticity from Isdera, confirming it to be the only example in existence. Offered directly from Isdera, this is undoubtably one of the most interesting one-off automobiles built in the 1990s.”

The Lamborghini collection

In addition to the Isdera Commendatore, RM Sotheby’s announced that its Paris sale will feature a single-consignor collection of Lamborghinis, including a 1967 400 GT 2+2, a 1968 Espada Series 1, a 1969 Islero GTS, a 1971 Miura P400 SV, a 1977 Countach LP400 ‘Periscopio’ and a 1984 Countach LP500S.

Because of ongoing coronavirus concerns, RM Sotheby’s added that the Paris auction will be a two-part sale with a live-streamed sale February 13 and a time-based Online Only that follows.

For more information, visit the RM Sotheby’s website.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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