Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543

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Lot 321Ω
Former transport to the French government , 1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé
Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543

Sold for US$ 359,000 inc. premium
Former transport to the French government
1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé
Chassis no. 543
Engine no. 543
C1 No 543: The earliest Avions-Voisin car

The OC1 – Presidential


By the start of the Roaring Twenties, Gabriel Voisin’s quirky, innovative automobiles were becoming widely adopted by the social elite of France from sportsmen to celebrities, were the term Art Deco to have been coined then, these would already be their automotive definition.

Acutely in tune with his market, as success grew his avante garde advertising reflected the period, with stylized marketing penned by luminary illustrators of their day, such as Charles Loupot and Rene Vincent, so much so that today these adverts are cited as pieces of Art Deco memorabilia and have even been exhibited at New York’s MoMA.

No greater statement of the esteem in which his cars were held came from the fact that a handful of Voisins sat at the Elysees Palace for Presidential use. As the contemporary photographs testify, both President Millerand and President Doumergue being seen using them, the latter appropriately to arrive at the opening of the exhibition les Arts Decoratifs, to which the term for the movement ‘Art Deco’ refers. But these were by no means acts of wanton Gallic patriotism, for as the illustrated period advertisement shows, among the wide ranging clientèle who chose Gabriel’s automobiles were: H.M. Alexandre 1st King of the Serbians, Croates and Slovaques, the Sultan of Morocco, the President of Argentina, Princess Helen of Greece, H.R.H. the Prince of Siam, the minister of the USA in Stockholm as well as number of home domiciled Americans - all modestly described as ‘A Few Voisin Customers’!

‘543 – the oldest Voisin of all’

C1 543 wears two clear honors. Firstly, by numbers, it is the oldest Avions Voisins car built that remains today, equally as important is the connotation of the role that it played when it was new, for it is understood to have been one of the handful of Gabriel Voisin’s debut C1 model that earned early renown by being used by the Presidential office when new.

The perfect foil to the Chauffeur Limousine C1 also offered today, the Presidence with its linear edged passenger compartment was a more formal version of the Chauffeur Coupé, or ‘Town Car’ offered by Voisin. In period as has been replicated they were trimmed to resemble the comforting environment of a living room with sumptuous soft fabric seating.

According to one of France’s pioneering old car enthusiasts and arguably the first Voisin connoisseur collector Robert Cornière legend has it that the car was retired from its civil duties to the President in 1926 at which time it passed to a somewhat shady nightclub owner in the Pigalle district of Paris. Its formal coupé coachwork is thought to have been rather too ostentatious for the individual concerned and it was not long before the car had been delivered to Parisien coachbuilders Rothschild & Co. for modification to an altogether more subtle sedan. In this guise, the owner is said to have prowled the streets of Paris until the Second World War, when it was laid up.

So it remained, until Cornière discovered it in the 1960s in an old Chateau barn in an incredibly dilapidated condition. Always intending to return it to the road, the project eluded him and in 1980 he parted with it to another Frenchman who would later begin work on the car, commissioning renowned restorer Dominique Tessier of Tours to return the car to its original formal splendor. It passed into the burgeoning ‘M’ Collection in the 1990s.

Since its restoration, the car has been exhibited at the popular Louis Vuitton Classic at Bagatelle in Paris, France and at Pebble Beach.

Its condition remains excellent, and even among the wide choice that the current owner has had this example has been one of his most prized and enjoyed.

Another unique survivor of the model in this form, it is highly recommended.

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.
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
Former transport to the French government ,1921 Avions Voisin OC1 'Presidential' Coupé  Chassis no. 543 Engine no. 543
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