Formerly the property of Gabriel Voisin
1951 Voisin Biscúter
Chassis no. 06
Toujours actif après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, Gabriel Voisin créa son propre bureau détudes et créa un petit véhicule mû par un moteur deux-temps de 125 cm3. Il en céda la licence à un constructeur espagnol qui utilisa un moteur Hispano-Villiers de 197 cm3 et produisit environ 12 000 « Biscuter ».
Quelques-uns des premiers prototypes furent donnés aux associés de Voisin qui lui-même en conserva deux dont lexemplaire proposé ici. Voisin vendit ce véhicule à un ami qui le revendit à un collectionneur fin des années 1960. Ce dernier conserva le Biscooter sans le restaurer et effectua des recherches à propos de ce véhicule en consultant ceux qui avaient été impliqués dans son étude dont Gabriel Voisin lui-même qui lui donna beaucoup dinformations utiles (voir le dossier accompagnant la voiture). Ce Biscooter est donc un type original biplace équipé dun moteur Gnome et Rhône de 125 cm3. La boîte na que trois rapports , mais elle est associé à un multiplicateur à deux rapports (comme sur certaines grandes automobiles Voisin des années 1930) qui donne donc six rapports avant. Ce Biscooter possède sa capote et le coffre contient la roue de secours. Offert avec sa carte grise française, ce Biscooter reste un parfait témoignage de la créativité de ce visionnaire que fut Gabriel Voisin.
In the late 1930s, motorcycle manufacturer Gnome et Rhône took over the celebrated car-maker, Voisin. Gabriel Voisin was arguably Frances greatest aviation pioneer. In 1907 he built the first practical aeroplane capable of leaving the ground under its own power and his Avions-Voisin company was the first mass producer of aircraft in the world. But the end of WWI brought a halt to Voisins aviation ventures and after experimenting with motorised bicycles and a light two-seater economy car, he decided to produce an automobile that would be unrivalled for prestige, comfort and speed.
Voisin continued to build motor cars of distinction throughout the 1920s, including a number of record-breaking competition models, but the economic downturn of the early 1930s had a disastrous effect on sales. Gabriel Voisin eventually lost control to his financiers and his factory was sold to Gnome et Rhône. Although no longer engaged in motor manufacture, Voisin maintained his interest in automobiles, setting up a design consultancy, LAéromécanique, in 1938. He was soon joined by his old colleagues Marius Bernard, Viallet, Pain, Perichon et al. The team worked on many different projects including electrically powered cars and a pedal car, prompted no doubt by the scarcity of fuel during WW2. There was also a proposed 42-cylinder aero engine producing 1,000bhp.
When the French Government nationalised the countrys aero-engine makers in 1945, forming Société Nationale dÉtude et de Construction de Moteurs dAviation (SNECMA), Gnome et Rhône and Avions-Voisin were absorbed into the new conglomerate. Following the reorganisation, Gnome et Rhône found itself a subsidiary of Société des Aéroplanes Voisin.
Gabriel Voisin still maintained contact with firm that bore his name, offering it the rights to the design of a micro-car powered by one of Gnome et Rhônes 125cc two-stroke motorcycle engines. Fifteen prototypes were constructed for evaluation (some by the aircraft manufacturer Potez) beginning with a two-seater version followed by a single-seater (for postmen) and finally a four-seater. SNECMA believed that the project had no future, so Voisin took his proposal to Spain, finding a home for it at Autonacional SA in Barcelona, where it was produced as the Biscúter. The Biscúter was powered by a Hispano-Villiers two-stroke engine of 197cc driving the front wheels and featured open two-seater bodywork. Refinements such as doors and windows eventually appeared together with alternative body styles including a delivery truck, woodie station wagon and the Pegasin (little Pegaso) sports car. It is believed that approximately 12,000 Biscúters of all types were made between 1951 and 1958.
Of the original prototypes, some were given to Voisins associates and two to Gabriel Voisin himself, one of which is the example we offer here. Voisin sold this car to a friend, who sold it on in the 1960s to a collector. The latter kept the Biscúter, without restoring it, and carried out extensive research into the model, contacting many of those involved with its development, including Gabriel Voisin who gave him much useful information (see file with car). This particular Biscúter is the original two-seater model powered by a Gnome et Rhône engine of 125cc. The gearbox has only three gears but there is also a supplementary dual-ratio transmission (a feature found on Voisins larger cars of the 1930s) making six forward speeds in total. Its original soft-top is fitted to the car and the spare wheel is contained within the boot. Offered with French Carte Grise, this rare Biscúter micro-car is a perfect example of Gabriel Voisins visionary genius.