Featured: Voisin Was The Master Of Unforgettable Art Deco Interiors

Voisin Was The Master Of Unforgettable Art Deco Interiors

By Michael Banovsky
December 22, 2015

Gabriel Voisin was a pioneer of aviation, cars, and, importantly mechanical style. The vehicles bearing his name had an undeniable look, and competed as favorably on circuits, speed trials, and endurance runs as its rivals at Bugatti. Sometimes.

Voisin never quite seemed to have the resources at its disposal that its rivals did, and when the world turned away from the technology it had been using, the company was slow to react. Its brightest engineer, André Lèfebvre went to work for Citroën, and, well, we have him to thank for the 2CV, DS, and others.

Even if the mechanical components were there, Voisin was a champion marketer and stylist, often endowing its interiors with punchy cloth patterns and cleverly engineered features—the horn is often nothing more than a slice of bare metal—touching it completes the circuit, and the horn honks.

Voisins were, notably, not often rebodied by independent carrozzeria: the aircraft-inspired designs were often so advanced as to dissuade meddling with the original design, both inside and out. As the Mullin Automotive Museum says to explain the rarity of its rebodied Type C27, “Gabriel Voisin held a low opinion of French coachbuilders and regarded them with the utmost suspicion. He could not forgive what he considered to be their stubborn insistence on using outmoded manufacturing techniques or their failure to take advantage of all that aeronautics had to offer.”

You’ll be spending most of your time driving the car, right? Might as well enjoy your surroundings.

Photography by Alexis Goure, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s



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David M. Goodson
David M. Goodson(@davidm-goodson)
2022 years ago

I may know where there is a barn find Ariel Voisin. When I toured Bordeaux in the late 1980s I came across one in a barn at a chateau. I have pictures. Always wanted to go back and rescue it but never had the money.

6 years ago

Beautifully shot.

Michael Schlenger
Michael Schlenger(@mschlenger)
6 years ago

Thanks for paying tribute to one of the great French prewar marques.

The Voisin that is now for sale is a gem and well-known among vintage car enthusiasts over here in good old Europe.

If I remember correctly, it entered the fabulous Concours d’Elegance at Chateau Chantilly in France this year (2015).

I was lucky enough to take some pictures of an unrestored car of exactly the same type (C14) on the very occasion (see attachment).

This admirable vehicle (together with an unmolested Turcat-Mery) was truely breathtaking.

6 years ago

Wauw its amazing!!!

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson(@valvebounce)
6 years ago

This is how David Bowie drove his.

These pictures were first published in the book Voisin La Difference (available from the Mulllin Museum) it is well worth tracking down.

Jonathan WC Mills
Jonathan WC Mills(@thewoodsman)
6 years ago

I really love this car and I’m surprised by my own reaction to it. It’s a car that I’m unfamiliar with and now that I’ve seen it, I think I’ll be carrying it’s details into my own future. Thanks Michael. Love the discovery.

Michael Squeo
Michael Squeo(@enzobindo)
6 years ago

He may have been the master of interiors but 75\% of the photos are of the exterior. I’d love to see more!

6 years ago

So many clever beautiful details, so many treats for the eyes. Unquestionably French Style. Thanks for the eye candy imagery.