This Only Isdera Commendatore 112i Ever Made Is a Nineties Dream with a Zonda V12 and It’s For Sale
Intended as a homologation special for a Le Mans prototype, Isdera was so obsessed with aerodynamics that they put the rear-view mirror on the roof.
One of the most incredible one-offs of the rad era is up for sale, directly from Isdera themselves. This 1993 Isdera Commendatore 112i is the only Commendatore 112i ever made, and it's heading to auction sans reserve at RM Sotheby's in 2021.
At its heart is a 6.0-liter Mercedes M120 V12 engine, which was the same engine used in the Pagani Zonda. It made over 400 horsepower, which was enough to wow in the nineties. Better yet, that big engine was stuffed in the middle of an ultralight spaceframe sportscar with a curvaceous body made of glass-reinforced plastic.
Mercedes never made a manual gearbox to fit the M120, so Isdera adapted from RUF, adding a bespoke flywheel and a sixth gear to achieve a top speed of 211 mph. That isn't the only thing Isdera got from the other side of Stuttgart—the Commendatore 112i's suspension design was very similar to the Porsche 928's, only the Isdera's would drop the ride height by three inches at high speeds to reduce drag. Its pop-up headlights, too, came directly from the Porsche 968, according to Classic Driver.
Likewise, the Commendatore 112i featured an ultra-aerodynamic custom-designed windshield wiper and a trick periscope-style rear-view mirror mounted on the roof in place of the usual wing mirrors, all in the name of less drag. All of this resulted in a drag coefficient of just 0.306.
Less drag and thus, higher straight-line speeds were important for one reason: the 24 Hours of Le Mans' infamous Mulsanne Straight. The Isdera Commendatore 112i was originally intended to be a homologation special for a Le Mans prototype, but Isdera's Le Mans hopes were cut short when an economic downturn in Japan took out most of Isdera's funding. They were only able to finish this one Commendatore 112i before they were forced to restructure the company, and this is it.
A Swiss consortium rescued the Commendatore 112i, featuring it at the Frankfurt auto show in 1999 as the "Silver Arrow." There, the shiny gold two-piece BBS wheels were ditched for five twin-spoke alloys and its unique periscope mirror was ditched in favor of Mercedes CLK-GTR-style wing mirrors. Isdera reacquired the car in 2016 and returned it to its original spec, which is how it will sell.
This particular Isdera has less than 6,525 miles on the odometer and it's even road-legal in Germany, one of the strictest countries in terms of getting anything to pass inspection. (Nürburgring? Nürburgring? Someone always seems to bring an Isdera for Oldtimer Grand Prix weekend, so it needs a friend. We're just saying. Also, we want to hear that screaming V12.)
It's offered up for sale from Isdera's own collection, and as you can see in the photos, it's absolutely pristine.
Fun fact: the Commendatore name was a tribute to Enzo Ferrari. Isdera recently resurrected the Commendatore name for the Commendatore GT electric sports car, but this is your shot to own the incredible gullwing-bodied original.
The world's only Commendatore 112i will be in RM Sotheby's 2021 Paris auction, and you can find out more information about the car, see more photos and get the details on its sale on RM Sotheby's page here. The auction starts on Feb. 13, 2021.
[H/T Classic Driver!]
Got a tip? Send us a note: firstname.lastname@example.org