Photography by Alexis Goure, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Gabriel Voisin was a pioneer of aviation, cars, and, importantly, mechanical style. The vehicles bearing his name had an undeniable look, and competed as favorably on circuits, speed trials, and endurance runs as its rivals at Bugatti on occasion.
Voisin never quite seemed to have the resources at its disposal that its rivals did, and when the world turned away from the technology it had been using, the company was slow to react. Its brightest engineer, André Lèfebvre went to work for Citroën, and, well, we have him to thank for the 2CV, DS, and others.
Even if the mechanical components were there, Voisin was a champion marketer and stylist, often endowing its interiors with punchy cloth patterns and cleverly engineered features—the horn is often nothing more than a slice of bare metal—touching it completes the circuit, and the horn honks.
Voisins were, notably, not often rebodied by independent carrozzeria: the aircraft-inspired designs were often so advanced as to dissuade meddling with the original design, both inside and out. As the Mullin Automotive Museum says to explain the rarity of its rebodied Type C27, “Gabriel Voisin held a low opinion of French coachbuilders and regarded them with the utmost suspicion. He could not forgive what he considered to be their stubborn insistence on using outmoded manufacturing techniques or their failure to take advantage of all that aeronautics had to offer.”
This particular example, a 1927 Avions-Voisin C14 Lumineuse, will be offered by RM Sotheby’s in March next year. For the person who has everything, a family to take on tour, or someone who wants to fall completely in love with a beautiful Art Deco design, may I suggest a Voisin?
You’ll be spending most of your time driving the car, right? Might as well enjoy your surroundings.