Concepts are normally outside of my collecting scope. Don’t get me wrong—concept cars are fascinating design studies, but even the most avid collectors have their limits. Run some enticing discounts by me, though, and those restrictions get immediately thrown out. Anything is game when cars are half-off, especially when your ultimate dream is to have every car ever created.
And that’s exactly how I ended up with this trio here, consisting of a gullwing Mercedes, a not-really-a-Mercedes, and the spiritual predecessor to Audi’s R8 supercar. BoS (Best of Show) Models is the maker of all three, and they’re the masters of automotive obscurity in the eighteenth scale. From Zagato specials to classic Studebakers to Porsche wagons, they make the cars that you never knew existed and the cars that you never knew you wanted. Household names and cookie-cutter sports cars won’t be found here; these guys are who you go to if you have a thirst for automotive knowledge. Their catalog is incredibly offbeat and niche, but we should all applaud them for taking the road less traveled.
With its sleek wedge profile, cavernous hood ducts, flying buttress rear pillars, star-shaped wheels, and fancy gullwing doors, the Mercedes-Benz C111 is clearly the prettiest car in the group. Having said that, the C111’s significance goes beyond its show-stopper presence. It was primarily a test mule for Mercedes to experiment with a host of different powertrains, from Wankel engines to diesel ones—later on implementing forced induction as well—and achieved numerous speed records in the process. Though they produced more than a dozen total examples for testing, the C111 ultimately never made it to mass production. A shame, because—performance and looks-wise—this could’ve been one of the greatest Benzes of all time, right up there with the 300SLs and 190Es and CLK GTRs.
Things get wedgie-r with the BB CW311, which wins the award for the quirkiest and most interesting car in the group. Yes, it looks like a spaceship. No, that’s not a taxi sign but, rather, a rearview mirror on top of the roof. Yellow-tipped exhaust pipes shoot out behind the driver-side door (the doors are gullwings too, by the way). Sitting behind the cabin is an engine from your favorite German tuner, AMG. It’s even made an appearance in the movie Car Napping.
Built using parts from Mercedes-Benz and Porsche cars, the CW311 was the creation of mad scientist Eberhard Schulz, who worked for both companies before moving on to other automotive endeavors and establishing his own Isdera brand. The name of this car is derived from its drag coefficient (Cw) of 0.311, and the B+B logo on this prototype represents the company Schulz partnered with to develop this prototype. Like with the C111, Mercedes opted not to mass produce this concept, but the CW311 lived on as the Isdera Imperator 108i and is the only unofficial M-B in history to don the three-pointed star.
The Quattro Spyder was the R8 of the nineties. With a mid-engined layout, Quattro all-wheel drive system, and body made of aluminum, the Spyder (it had a removable roof, in case you were wondering) featured a similar makeup to Audi’s modern supercar. But, because Audi could not meet their targeted price point for the Quattro Spyder, they were forced to nix the project. Some people say that this is the best-looking car that Audi has ever created. I would disagree but, then again, I’ve never cared for Audis anyways.