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This gorgeous C14 Berline was found in the 1990s in France by an astute Australian collector. The Voisin was found to be complete and sound and, after many years of storage, was deemed a perfect candidate for a complete restoration, finished prior to 2007. Ken Haywood was hired to restore the car, which had enough fascinating details to make for an incredibly interesting project. All of the unique features of the C14 were restored to working order including the Dynastart that is a combination generator/starter connected to the crankshaft, which silently whirs the engine to life when actuated. The engine was rebuilt with all details of the unique valve train checked against specs gathered from the Voisin Club in France. The Dewandre vacuum-assisted braking system was given a detailed mechanical review to ensure that its legendary capability was evident when needed. The C14 drive train utilized the famed Voisin transfer box. The transfer box that is operated by switches on the steering column offers high and low speed settings, effectively giving the C14 six forward ratios from its conventional three-speed gearbox.
A true hallmark of Voisin design is the decidedly Art Deco-patterned Paul Poiret fabric used for the interior trimming. This fabric embodies the overall audacity of the marque’s offerings and was sourced for the restoration from stock remade in the original pattern from the 1920s. Large luggage boxes are found on many of Voisin’s models, and this example is no exception.
With a rich history, state-of-the-art technology, and flamboyant indifference, Voisin made cars that serve both the technically and artistically bent motoring enthusiast. Combining the elegance, ingenuity, and unparalleled artistry that made Voisin legendary, this charming C14 embodies the marque’s best properties in an accessible and useable package that demands serious consideration.
The Avions Voisin C14
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 the peace treaty of November 1918, Voisin was forced to find something other than aircraft to focus his then considerable talents and resources towards. After exploits in pre-fab building and aircraft-hangar production, Voisin opened Avions Voisin, which was to become one of the world’s most dynamic automakers.
Revolutionary from the beginning, Voisin’s first production automotive efforts focused on the adoption of the “Sleeve Valve” engine architecture patented in 1908 by American Charles K.Knight. Known for its almost silent operation, which was further refined by the company, these engines would become a hallmark of Voisin’s cars until very late in the marque’s existence. Voisin was intent on delivering his customers lightweight and economical transportation and was an early adopter of aluminum body construction. Using knowledge gained from years of aircraft manufacture, the bodies were ingeniously built to flex with the frame to achieve a smooth ride, and used no timbers inside the boxed sections.
Built from late 1927 to 1932, the C14 was an evolution of Voisin’s first six-cylinder car, the 1926 C11. Approximately 1,795 C14s were produced, making the car one of Voisin’s more popular offerings. The C14 utilized a 2.4-liter six-cylinder engine producing a smooth 66 bhp, which was enough to propel the car to 115 kph in superb comfort. C14s were built with both four-door berline and two-door coupe bodies, penned by Andre Noël. While remaining clean and elegant, both designs displayed the abundant classic Art Deco cues, inside and out, which the company was becoming known for.