1935 Voisin C25
Sold for $1,925,000 at 2013 Gooding and Company - Pebble Beach.
Chassis #: 50023
Engine #: M25 50007
Gabriel Voisin would be a man of many talents. However, one of his strengths and interests would be in aviation. However, following the end of the First World War, Voisin would be forced to turn his attentions to the road. However, the love and interest in aviation would never be far away and would never be more noticeable than with the C25 Aerodyne.
Already the name gives the interest, the inspiration away. The influence of the sky and of the flow of air would be evident with every curve, edge and contour. But there would be more in common with aviation upon closer inspection of the car. The simplistic, metal instrument panel and, of course, the sliding roof with its porthole-like windows would all be reminiscent of aircraft of the period and the innovation that flight infused into many facets of design.
A total of just eight of the Voisin C25 Aerodyne would ever be built. Chassis 50023 remains just one of four known to still be in existence. Unfortunately, most of its early life remains unknown. What is known is that Henry Browne de Kilmaine would acquire the car in 1963 for his collection.
And who is Henry de Kilmaine? From 1949 to 2004, de Kilmaine would be involved in organizing every single running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He would be an officer of the Automobile Club l'Ouest during memorable Le Mans moments including Jaguar's dominance, Ford's defeat of Ferrari, Porsche's first overall victory and a host of other very special moments.
Henry would be instrumental in the foundation of the Le Mans Museum. It would be rather fitting that while in the business of acquiring cars for the museum he would begin his own interest in collecting automobiles.
The Comite d'Organisation des Salons Internationaux de l'Automobile would ask de Kilmaine to display his Aerodyne at the Les Belles Voitures d'Autrefois, a major exhibition that would be held on October 17th of 1963. In 1972, de Kilmaine would enter the Voisin in the Coupes de L'Age d'Or held on the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans. The events would keep coming and, in 1984, the Aerodyne would take part in an exhibition celebrating 100 Years of Motoring. The event would be held at the Grand Palais, the very same location where Avions Voisin had unveiled the C25 Aerodyne some 50 years earlier.
The C25 would be on display in a number of museums right through the start of the new millennium. Following de Kilmaine's death in 2008 his vast collection of automobiles would be split up and sold. An English collector would become the car's owner. It would be determined then the car was in need of restoration. Blakeney Motorsports Ltd., based in England, would be entrusted with the enterprise.
The entire process would be thoroughly documented, including notes and photographs. The sliding roof would be thoroughly restored, the sleeve-valve engine entirely rebuilt. The car would then be completed with a two-tone livery of dark blue over London Grey. Certainly a masterpiece of Art Deco design, the restored Aerodyne would be seen on display at Windsor Castle Concours d'Elegance in 2012.
Never seen on display in the United States, and rarely outside of France or England, the C25 would be made available for purchase at the 2013 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach auction where estimates placed its final price between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000. When the bidding came to an end, the sale price would come up just short of the estimates. The final price for the car would be $1,925,000.Sources:
'Lot No. 47: 1935 Avions Voisin C25 Aerodyne', (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1935-avions-voisin-c25-aerodyne/). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1935-avions-voisin-c25-aerodyne/. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
By Jeremy McMullen
'1934 Voisin C25 News, Pictures and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/z20208/Voisin-C25.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/z20208/Voisin-C25.aspx. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
Sold for $330,000 at 2007 Gooding & Company.Sold for $330,000 at 2009 The Scottsdale Auction : Gooding & Company.
Clairiere Sport Berline
Chassis #: 50 017
Engine #: M25 50017
Gabriel Voisin was a many of many talents and professions. He was a mechanic, architect, engineer, aerodynamicist, inventor and industrialist. Other talents and skills included poetry, philosophy, music, and art.
In 1902 he built his first airplane and two years later he, along with his brother Charles, opened a factory. During the First World War, he oversaw the production of more than 10,000 airframes and the manufacture of engines, licensed from Salmson and Hispano-Suiza.
When the War ended he was left without aircraft contracts so he returned to automobiles. Former Panhard engineers designed the first Voisin car. They tried to sell the design to Andre Citroen but the offer was declined because it had Panhard roots. The car was given a Knight-type sleeve vale engine that was both silent and smooth.
By 1920 the Voisin automaker introduced the C2 at the Paris Salon. It had a V12 engine that displaced 7.3-liters and four-wheel brakes actuated by compressed air and three-point mounting for the engine. The successes of this design found their way into the C1, C3 and C5 models. The C6 to C16 were mostly four cylinder cars, but there were a few six-cylinder exceptions. The C13 was the exception, which had an eight-cylinder unit.
The experience in the aircraft industry made its way into the designs of the bodies on the Voisin cars. Gabriel Voisin focused on simplicity, with elegant and aerodynamic designs formed from flat sheets of aluminum. Another benefit of the Voisin's were their lightweight characteristics.
The world was introduced to the C25 Voisin at the 1934 Paris Salon. Borrowing designs for its predecessor the C24 Aerodyne, it had an underslung chassis and a 2994cc engine. The engine was modified with higher compression and two carburetors. There was a 2-speed and reverse transmission with electromagnetic gear change.
Only 28 examples of the C25 Models were created. Up to this point, Voisin chassis's were given names like 'Chasse', 'Chasseur' and 'Diane.' The C25 through C27 chassis had an Olympic theme with names like 'Bob', 'Luge', and 'Ski'. The C25 bodies are known in Aerodyne, Cimier and Clariere styles.
This example is a C25 Clairiere Berline. It has been housed in a museum for the last 40 years and is in completely original condition. The body style has seating for five, four-doors, and created from aluminum. It is perhaps the most original and best preserved Voisin in existence.
In 2007 this C25 Voisin was brought to the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, CA where it was estimated to sell for $225,000 - $325,000. As the gavel fell for the third and final time, the lot had been sold for $330,000 including buyer's premium.
In 2009, it was brought to the Gooding & Company auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona where it was expected to sell for $350,000 - $450,000. The lot was sold for the sum of $330,000 including buyer's premium.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
Gabriel Voisin built his first aeroplane in 1902 and went on to build over 10,000 airframes, mainly during World War I. He started motorcar production in 1919 and at the Paris Auto Salon in 1920, he introduced the first Voisin C2, with a 7.3-liter V12 engine. The car proved to be too big and too expensive and all subsequent C models were built with 4- or 6-cylinder units. The first Voisin C25 was shown at the 1934 salon. Just 28 similar C25s followed, and they were fitted with differing body styles with distinctive names like Lumineuse, Myrte, Aerodyne and this Cimier, a two-door, four-seat coupe, which was the lowest and most streamlined of them all.
This car was originally built for Voisin's friend and fellow engineer, Jean Bertin, who went on to invent the futuristic Aerotrain in the 1960s. Having had only two owners, it survived reasonably intact. It has recently been restored, keeping the original pattern of fabric and color of paintwork.
Gabriel Voisin was born on February 5th of 1880 and lived until Christams Day in 1973. He was born at Belleville-sur-Saône, France, and is remembered as a French aviation pioneer and a producer of automobiles. In 1900, he met Clement Ader who aided in the study of aeronautics. In mid-1905 he had a fast boat tow a glider that was lightweight yet structurally rigid. His glider flew for over 500 feet as the boat pull him and the glider along. When the boat slowed, the glider came back down and went into the water, nearly drowning Voisin in the process. This near-death experience did not slow the ambition aviator; in 1906 he had opened the world's first aviation firm, the Les Freres Voisin, meaning Aeroplanes Voisin.
As the years progress, so did Voisin's aviation business. At the close of World War I, he made the decision to turn his interests to other industries. He had become traumatized by knowing that his airplanes had been used as war machines. He would spend the rest of his career building automobiles. His early creations were luxurious and their designs were unique. They appealed to the upper class society, as their price tags could only be afforded by the elite. From 1919 through 1939, only 11,000 examples were constructed, but they are among the most memorable, exclusive, and wonderful creations of the pre-WWII era. After World War II, the direction of his automobile designs changed, and he began creating cars that were aimed at a broader public.
When Voisin began producing automobiles, it was immediately obvious that the airplane industry had effects on his design. They were unique, lightweight and aerodynamic and often employed exotic materials and technologically advanced mechanical components. His brother had been killed in an automobile accident, so the Voisin automobiles were given a high degree of safety in an effort to avoid any future tragedies.
The 1920s were a good era for Voisin. His line of vehicles were offered with four- or six-cylinder engines with most of the coachwork being done in-house. The engines were whisper quiet, thanks in-part to the Knight patented sleeve-valve design. The draw back to this design was that the engine required a large amount of engine to lubricate the sleeves, which often meant white-smoke coming from the exhaust pipes as the oil was being burnt. This did take away from the allure of the car, but it made country driving enjoyable for the occupants.
As the cylinder wars of the 1920s began heating up, Voisin began working on a power-plant that could compete with the other luxury marques. Voisin was not the only marque struggling to keep pace with evolving technology, nearly every brand in the luxury segment was doing the same. Sadly, The Great Depression was just around the corner and would bring an end to many great auto manufacturers.
The Voisin C14
was produced from 1928 through 1932 with a total of 1795 examples being constructed. This model would account for the majority of Voisin automobile sales during this time. Under the bonnet lay a six-cylinder, sleeve-valve engine that was capable of producing an adequate 65 horsepower. The engine was mated to a three-speed gearbox which powered the rear wheels. The bodywork was constructed from lightweight aluminum, which was very uncommon at the time. It also means that many examples of the C14 do not exist today, as this delicate material is highly susceptible to the elements and the passage of time.
Voisin introduced their twelve- and six-cylinder engine just prior to the start of The Depression. The luxury car segment was devastated; those pool of individuals who could afford to buy a high-priced vehicle dwindled, and competition became very fierce. Some manufactures lowered their prices in attempts to move merchandise. Incentives were offered, but little worked. The saving grace for many was to move down market and try to attract new buyers. Voisin chose to weather The Depression and continued to offer only high-priced and exclusive automobiles.
At the 1929 Paris Motorshow, Vosin introduced their C18
, code-named Diane. It was powered by a V12 engine with sleeve-valve technology. The engine displaced nearly 4.9-liters and produced 113 horsepower, which made it one of the more powerful production engines of its day. The V12 engine signaled a new direction for the company, but the design and other mechanical components were still lagging. Voisin rectified this in 1930 with the introduction of the C20
. The car featured an underslung chassis and a very appropriate and elegant two-door cabriolet body. Various other coach-bodies were shown throughout the following years on the C20. The C20 was the right direction for the company, but it never made it passed the prototype stage. During this time in history, only a few Voisin's were constructed; they were powered by six-cylinder engines.
One example of the C20 has survived the test of time. It was code-named, Mylord, and is believed to be the only C20 created. It is clothed in Demi-Berline style coachwork. It was treated to a recent restoration and shown at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and joined a group of other exclusive Voisin's on the elegant and well manicured lawn overlooking the bay. The featured marque at the concours was Voisin.
In 1933, the Voisin C24 Aerodyne
was displayed to the public at the Paris Auto Salon. The art-deco design mated with French curves rocked the industry. The vehicle was full of unique and non-traditional features. Under the hood was a six-cylinder, sleeve-valve engine breathing through twin Zenith or Stromberg carburetors. It was good for over 100 horsepower. There was a four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive on two of the gears. The body was constructed of aluminum and built atop a steel chassis. Drum brakes and leaf springs could be found at all four corners. The goal was to produce over twenty examples, but only two would ever be built and one was given a C25 chassis. The C25 included shock absorbers, sliding roof, and other features
Voisin took the opportunity at the 1934 Paris Salon to announce two new variations of the C25, though non had been created. The first announcement was the C26 which was a long wheelbase version of the C25. The C27 was a shorter, sportier version of the C25 built with an underslung chassis. Only one C26 and two C27 were ever created. Sales of the C25 were not stellar either, with only 28 examples finding ownership.
The first C27 was bodied by Figoni and the second was given a coupe configuration by the factory. The factory design C27 was created by Gabriel Vosin and Andre Noël-Noël Telmont. It was given a round body and features found on the C25. There is a sliding roof that can be slid back via a motor and stored in the passenger compartment. The roof motor is a separate engine which can be found behind the passenger's seat. The found design, cycle fenders, and sloping rear end is offset by the vehicles square doors and angled window design.
The C27 was shown at the 1935 Geneva Motorshow. After that, it was in the possession of its first owner, Noël-Noël, for over ten years. It passed through ownership throughout the years and is currently in the hands of a Voisin enthusiast. The car was displayed at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it sat next to the only other C27 ever created.
The other C27, with coachwork by Figoni, is finished in a two-door convertible configuration. The vehicles first owner was Shah of Persia who commissioned the car to be built. It is finished in an eye-catching yellow paint scheme. Time was not kind to this vehicle. It was found in the late 1970s and brought back to France in the 1980s. Claude Figoni helped with the task of performing a complete restoration. When the restoration was completed in 1991, it was shown in the French Auto Passion magazine. It made very few public appearances since then. It was on display at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it was awarded a Second in Class, behind the C28 Aerosport.
The direction of the Voisin Company would change in 1937, as Gabriel Voisin lost control of his company. The C28
was the final car to be designed by Voisin and utilize many of the techniques and design principals that made them unique. At most, only four C28 models were created. Under the hood was the tried-and-true six-cylinder sleeve-valve engine and guided by a four-speed Cotal Preselector gearbox.
It was the end of an era and World War II was on the horizon. The Great Depression had taken its toll on the great Voisin Company and a new plan of survival was in the works. The ingenuity and designs of the Voisin marque have left their mark on the automotive industry and the company will always be remembered as one of the great luxury car producers of the pre-World War II era. It is estimated that around 11,000 examples were constructed during this time frame. With so many exotic and lightweight materials used that were susceptible to the elements, only few have survived.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2007