a homologated concept car with a Mercedes-Benz engine

Zapping Autonews story Tour Auto 2020: guided tour of exceptional cars at the Grand Palais

When engineer Schulz left Porsche in the 1970s, he teamed up with tuner Rainer Buchmann to found B&B GmbH & Co Auto KG. The two men are behind the development of the CW311 prototype for Mercedes-Benz, as evidenced by its three-pointed star at the end of the bonnet. This pioneering supercar was ultimately never made by the German manufacturer and served as the basis for the first model of Isdera, the new brand created by Schulz after his separation from Buchmann. This small automobile production company, an acronym for “Ingenieurbüro für Styling, DEsign und RAcing”, was founded in 1982 and the Spyder 033i was introduced in the same year. A niche sports car, the Spyder, largely inspired by the CW311, was hand-built around a Mercedes-Benz-sourced 1.8 four-cylinder engine. In 1985, Isdera launched the Spyder 033-16, equipped with an engine of the same origin but more powerful and cubic at 2.3 liters. Two years later, the latest iteration of the Spyder, the famous 036i, was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. Initially, the vehicle was powered by a 217 hp 3.0 six-cylinder engine to deliver tenfold performance.

Discreet production

Isdera Spyder 036iStart slideshow
Isdera Spyder 036i | Photos of the discoverable prototype

Isdera Spyder 036iCredit Photo – Peter Singhof – 2022 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Counting the three generations of Isdera Spyder, experts estimate the total number of vehicles produced at 14. A low number justified by the artisanal methods used to build the Spyders, by hand, with no less than a year of waiting between the order and the delivery of a copy. The Isdera Spyder 036i presented here in pictures, for its part, left the factory on March 28, 1989. Before being delivered to a private customer in Germany, the car was first exhibited at the Motor Show de Genève 1989. Initially, this Spyder 036i had received a black exterior paint combined with a purple leather interior.

In July 2011, our Spyder 036i returned to its manufacturing facility in Hildesheim, Germany. It has undergone a unique transformation at the hands of its creators. Among the notable changes to the vehicle, note the replacement of the original 3.0 V6 with a more powerful 3.6 V6 borrowed from Mercedes-AMG and developing 276 hp. Aesthetically, the Spyder offered on this occasion flared front and rear fenders painted in metallic silver. The purpose of the maneuver was to install larger alloy wheels (16 inches) wrapped in Toyo Proxes tires in the wheel arches. Inside, Recaro Sportster buckets replaced the original seats and blue leather took the place of purple. Authentic unique piece, the car has not been altered and has above all benefited from all its modifications in-house, at Isdera. This brand continues, even today, its work in the development of vehicles but in a very confidential way.

In short

The rare models manufactured by the discreet Isdera brand are worth a detour. The story of this craftsman began with the Spyder 033i, a sporty vehicle derived from the CW311 prototype originally designed for Mercedes-Benz. By switching to the 3.0 six-cylinder instead of the four-cylinder of its debut, the Isdera Spyder has become the 036i, of which a factory-modified and therefore truly unique example will soon be offered at auction by RM Sotheby’s.

Paul Niocel

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