1927 Avions Voisin C 14
Year of manufacture1927
Temporary UK Import
See UK Registration/Import Status Guide in catalogue.
Having founded an aviation company in 1906 with his younger brother Charles, the pioneering Gabriel Voisin would go on to build over 11,000 military aircraft for France and other countries through WWI. After subsequent exploits in prefab building and aircraft-hangar production, Voisin opened Avions Voisin, which became one of the world’s most dynamic automakers.
Revolutionary from the beginning, Avions Voisin’s first production automotive efforts focused on the adoption of the sleeve valve engine architecture patented in 1908 by American Charles Knight. Known for its almost silent operation, these engines were a hallmark of Avions Voisin’s cars until very late in the marque’s existence.
Built from late 1927 to 1932, the C14 was an evolution of Avions Voisin’s first six-cylinder car, the 1926 C11. C14s were built with both four-door berlines and two-door coupe bodies, penned by André Noël. The most exclusive of these is certainly the Lumineuse – or luminous – coachwork, as is fitted to the example here. The Lumineuse model was popular with many prominent artists of the era including Maurice Chevalier, Josephine Baker, and Paul Morand, and both Le Corbusier and Rudolph Valentino were Voisin owners in period.
This stunning Avions Voisin C14 Lumineuse is believed by the consignor to have been delivered new to Ferdinand Batime of Lyon, France, as noted on a plaque inside the car. By circa 1975, the Voisin was owned by Dutch collector Jan Martens, who kept it for some 40 years before selling it to the consignor in 2015.
A great fan of the finest prewar art and automobiles, the consignor found himself inspired by Georges Lepape’s cover artwork on the first British edition of Vogue magazine, which depicts a stylish, female motorist wearing a Sonia Delauney-inspired “simultaneous” dress and leaning on an open Voisin painted in an Art Deco triangle motif. With his Voisin in need of cosmetic refurbishment, the owner embarked on its restoration, which included a variation of this stunning ornamentation being hand-painted by Dutch artist Bernadette Ramaekers. The painstaking work took six months to complete and stands as a testament to both the original design and Ramaekers’ ability with a brush.
A true hallmark of Avions Voisin design is the decidedly Art Deco-patterned Paul Poiret fabric used for the interior trimming, which offers a level of flamboyance that tastefully matches the exterior of this example. The C14 was also treated to an engine rebuild by specialist Didier Pacic, which included new cylinder sleeves and pistons.
Combining the elegance, ingenuity, and unparalleled artistry that made Avions Voisin legendary, this charming C14 embodies the marque’s best properties in an accessible and usable package that demands serious consideration.