Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826

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Lot 320Ω
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive , 1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine
Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826

Sold for US$ 75,000
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive
1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine
Chassis no. 804
Engine no. 826
Voisin C1: the first of the Avions Voisin

With the market having dried up for his hugely successful aircraft manufacturing business in Issy les Moulineaux after the Great War, Gabriel Voisin’s first foray into diverting his resources into motor car manufacture was to build the ‘C1’. It is said that the ‘C’ prefix to his number 1 automobile was a reference to his dear brother who had died a number of years earlier. Not for Gabriel the long drawn out process of designing a car from scratch, he cleverly went to André Citroën and purchased the rights to build a larger horsepower, luxury model the prototype of which had just been penned by his designers Artault and Dufresne yet did not fit into that company’s general strategy of affordable cars in those austere times.

The motor he chose was also something that he could easily build under license with the resources he had at his disposal, being a patent ‘Knight’ sans soupapes or valveless – meaning sleeve-valve motor. This in itself was quite advanced for the day and since luxury was associated with mechanical silence, fitted his upmarket C1 model well, four speeds and 4-liters meant that the car went well, while the Voisin’s four wheel brakes – by no means universal in automobile manufacture by then, ensured it pulled up too.

Alongside a campaign of racing to promote the brand, Avions Voisin cars quickly became associated with quality and flair for design.

C1 804

This is the very first “factory” Voisin for as the market required, many of his clientèle would have had their C1 chassis bodied by their own preferred coachbuilder, but in this virtually unique survivor of factory coachwork one can get some insight into the differences that Gabriel Voisin sought to achieve over his competitors.

Witness the elegant, but practical body with six ‘lights’ or windows making for an airy and bright cabin, as does the opening front screen and which is proudly proclaimed as their own Avions Voisins Carrosserie – a factory body. In contemporary marketing these were described as ‘Chauffeur Limousines’ and comparison with the advertisement shown, illustrates that this is a benchmark example of the design – already Voisin boldly states "The Voisin – chosen by the elite because there is nothing better, chosen by sportsmen because there is nothing faster, chosen by ladies because there is nothing more beautiful…"

Throughout the car there is a feeling of minimalism, beneath the hood already is the tidy and simplistic engine bay, housing another hallmark of the model the sleeve-valve motor, at this stage of 4-liter capacity, comfortably capable of propelling even more formal coachwork such as this, while the dashboard too is similarly uncluttered.

The C1 model was certainly a success, yet today it is thought that just 2 examples remain, that this Chauffeur Limousine survives is all the more remarkable and a typical French tale of ownership long beyond its usable lifetime again suggesting the esteem in which Gabriel’s cars were already held.

Its original owner is said to have been a French Steel Magnate, one imagines from the northwest of France, a standard registration plaque on its dashboard notes its original address as being Saint des Hauts-Fourneaux de Rouen, Grand Quevilly (S.Ine). The original owner is said to have retained the car until he bequeathed it to the nearby Le Mans museum, who in turn kept the car until 1992 when is was de-accessioned and came into the present ownership.

That simple chain of ownership accounts for the ‘as found’ cosmetic condition of the car, and were one to wish for further insight into how this car was when new, the remaining though heavily worn interior is almost certainly the original and gives perfect proof of the materials used and trim design of these early Voisin cars. In reality, this is a semi-completed restoration for the wood of the bodywork has been professionally attended to, by a local carpenter specializing in horse drawn carriages, the motor has been taken apart, checked over and found to be in good order and in the mid-1990s the wiring loom was renewed.

Retaining its original interior, matched by an older repaint in original colors, the next owner will have the option of completing the car either by careful preservation of its aesthetics or sympathetic restoration, either way it will reward them as being in a new elite of being one of two owners of the model and with a majestic statement of Voisin’s early days in automobile manufacture - an opportunity not to be missed!

Sold with a French carte grise registration document.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, this lot is applicable to an import duty calculated at 2.5% of the hammer price. This duty will be invoiced to the purchaser but may be refunded if the lot is exported within certain criteria.
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
Believed to be one of two examples of this model to survive ,1919 Avions Voisin C1 Chauffeur Limousine  Chassis no. 804 Engine no. 826
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