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How to become a fan of...

How to become a fan of...

I think we all love many old cars and we´re all interested in lots and lots of brands, but I also think, that most of us have at least one make, that we love most, don´t we? Everybody who is interested in soccer has a team, he follows, if you are interested in music, you have the one band or singer, you love most. But what are the origins for being an aficionado of that ONE automobile, that ONE soccer-team or that ONE band? OK, I´m a fan of 1.FC Köln and my favorite band is Rose Tattoo, but this is another story and has nothing to do with old cars.
As you might have recognized in older articles I wrote, my favorite brand is „Avions Voisin“. ...since nearly 30 years now. I think the most common reason to be a fan of a special car are „my uncle (or father, aunt, grandpa, neighbour) once owned this car“, "I passed the car on my way to school every day", „it was the best car in my old auto-quartett“ or „the girl I admired as a child was driven to the tennis court in this car“?! So -curtain up- this is my story: It must have been Christmas in 1987. My aunt visited us, and like every year, as a Christmas gift, she brought a book for me. That year it was an Automobile Enzyclopedia, as she knew, I´ve been interested in cars, especially OLD cars, since my early childhood. I think the origin of that was the vintage-car wallpaper in the room, I shared with my brother´till I was five or six years old. I scrolled through the encyclopedia and saw many great cars. And many of my favorite cars, like for example the fantastic Daimler Double-Six (the car that sadly was pebble-beached some years ago) including a cutaway-drawing. I found the ISO Grifo, the Invicta S-Type I knew from a painting I had on my wall. By the way: I saw the car pictured in the book at the Interclassics/Maastricht this year and today it is located just a few miles from our flat... There were the Bugatti Royale, the SS100 Jaguar I owned as a matchbox version and the fantastic Auburn Speedster. But there were two amazing pictures of cars, I never heard of before: At first the Bucciali TAV-12 (in the book titled as the Double-Huit) and there was an absolutely stunning picture of a very low, nearly hot-rod-looking limousine, called the Voisin V12 „Scirocco“. What an unbelievable design! I fell in love with this car immediately and as I read the rather short part about the Bucciali, I learned, that one of those cars had a Voisin V12 engine as well.

But how to get information about such a car in the 80s, without the internet and living in a small village in the middle of nowhere? I only found one small article about Voisin in an early „Oldtimer-Markt“-magazine, but no information about the „Scirocco“. It must have been during the summer holiday in 1988.: My father and I wanted to spend two or three weeks in the south of France, for the first time with the camper, we succeeded one year before. We drove to Staufen in the black forest, where we wanted to stay for the first night and then continue to the south. But as it was a really hot summer and of course the camper had no air conditioning, we decided to stay in Germany. And what a luck, one day, we went to Mulhouse, to visit the unbelievable collection of the Schlumpf brothers. And there they all were in 1:1 scale: The two Bugatti Royale, the Mercedes SSK, all the racing Bugatti and suddenly I stood in front of... an underslung Voisin V12! And one and a half Bucciali next to it. This must have been fate: Just at that time, on loan from the Blackhawk Collection in the USA, the last surviving underslung Voisin V12 and additional the Bucciali TAV-8 together with the Double-Huit Chassis were on display at the Collection Schlumpf. I was totally stunned. The car looked great, even if it was „Americanized“ with chromed wire wheels, red chassis, and some bling-bling-lametta that time. OK, it was the Demi-Berline coachwork, not the four-door version, but you can look hours at the car and still find more fascinating details. I once saw the car in an American TV-Show and the reporter told, that the car looks, like MC Escher would have done the design. Well, he couldn't have said it better.

And that was, how it all started. I didn´t manage to get much information about Voisin over the next years. An article here, a picture there, I saw the gorgeous C25-Aerodyne of the Herve-Collection at one of the early Technoclassicas in Essen, but not much about the underslung C20/22. But as I started my university studies in Aachen Aix la Chapelle and learned to know about this obscure new „Internet“, I finally found one piece of the big puzzle after the other. Ebay appeared and I purchased my first Solido 1/43 Voisin and many foreign magazines with Voisin articles. In 2003 I found Thierry Auffrets fantastic Voisin Homepage. We had some email contact and I finally met him in 2013 at the Vintage Revival at Montlhery with Voisin as featured marque. And there, next to Thierry, I first met the great friends of the „Amis de Gabriel Voisin“ and on that day, I saw more cars of this brand than ever before.

So this is the story how I slowly mutated to a Voisinist over the years. But how about you? How did you find „your“ brand? Can you tell us about the origins of YOUR passion?
If you want to share your story, please send it to us.


Text and Pictures: Hubertus Hansmann



#5 Hubertus Hansmann 2017-11-13 10:11
Thanks for your comments!

@ Michael: Fantastic! RX9550 is still "living" in the UK.

@ Tjeerd: That must have been the TAV-30 replica by Bart de Vries. He built it in the early 80s, using a modernised Chevy-Chassis and a Buick Straight-Eight engine. ...and most components of the car are handbuilt by himself.

Best, Hubertus
#4 Thierry 2017-11-12 16:13
Ha, what a nice story Hubertus! Happy to helped you to see a few Voisin cars and meet Voisinists people during this famous 2013 Vintage Revival Montlhéry! Thierry
#3 Tjeerd 2017-11-12 10:42
Great story! Isnt the first pic at thd bottom a bucciali? I remember meeting a Dutch guy who made a replica ov yhis stunning car
#2 Michael Rose 2017-11-12 08:50
I was already greatly enamoured by photos of Gabriel Voisin's cars when I flew from New Zealand back to England in 1967.

Finding a magnificent 3 1/2-litre Bentley sedanca coupe lying derelict on the South Coast within a few days of touch-down at Heathrow, that did distract me slightly I admit.... but Exchange and Mart got me back on the Voisiniste trail one Thursday morning .... Thursday being a(s)low time for productive work in an architect's office, until the magazine had been speedily perused over morning coffee.

Spotted an advert for a tiny stash of Voisin parts. Realised they were the missing parts of the "second" car, parts-car to RX9550, the 1929 C14 Chartreuse that had disappeared from UK history in recent times.

Couldn't get the bits back home fast enough.... a FIAT 500 helped slow things right down to a crawl that night.

A few months later, I found the guy who had the old Voisin saloon. John had done a huge restoration job, and I fell deeply in love with the car.

No he didn't ever want to part with it but.... but....

I remembered that one of the Voisin parts was one feather, only one, broken off the original oiseau-volante aluminium mascot. I spotted John's restored car mascot would indeed be missing a feather in the wind.

John and Mike met over a Cointreau at a WestEnd London niteclub....nothing to do with old cars (I just fancied Mrs John, but that's another tale)

Carefully decoding John's liquer-dilated body lingo, I waited for the Gilhooly point as he lifted the last glass.... held the broken-off mascot feather
"Here's why you're gonna sell me the Voisin, old bean..."

I will never forget how John's Denver-car-salesman training came out in his response:
"Hey, you son-of-a-bitch !".

The Voisin was treasured for thousands of miles, and quite a few years...although quite why I so stupidly accepted a Citroen Maserati in exchange is one of life's less-little mysteries.

I even re-read "Men Women And 10000 Kites" in the 1962 french original.

Gabriel's classic book SHOULD have been called "Men, Kites and 10,000 Women"

#1 Stuart Penketh 2017-11-12 03:36
What a wonderful story, Hubertus.
I can FEEL the passion in your writing, it is making the searches for your old car memories come alive.
Long may they continue !

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