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Mystery Monday; a well used Voisin


Entering our bureau this monday, there was a nice surprise on my desk. Knowing that I´m a big aficionado of Gabriel Voisin and his automobiles, my friend Jürgen sent an old photograph of a rare C24-Caravelle.

I knew this picture before, as two of my Voisin Club-mates sent scans of it some time ago, but we couldn´t find out anything more about the car and the time, the photo was made. The car clearly is a late C24 demi-berline with a factory body called "Caravelle". It was introduced in 1933 and followed a more conventional styling, than the typical razor-edged Bauhaus-design, Voisin is known for. The sustained fenders, without the typical boxes, changed the look dramatically. The car on the photo seems heavily used. Just have a look at the non matching wheels of different sizes, that are giving the car an even more hot-roddy style! There is a big crack in the front fender and the door-handle is missing.

But does this car still exist?

The photo seems to be taken in post-war times. I can only recall one Caravelle, that survived at least till the seventies. That one was part of the Corniére-collection, but I have no clue, if the car still exists and if it maybe is THIS car!? There are many similaritys, but I wouldn´t bet a dime on it. On the only two pictures, I know of the Corniére-car, there is for example no mirror mounted at the door, the door-handle is at its place and the wheels seem to have identical sizes.

Except of this car, I only know of two surviving four-door Saloons (called "Charmeuse"), that share this late C24-style. One in the fabulous Wurstemberger-collection in Aigle and one barnfind, that was offered by C.Grohe some time ago.

So is there anybody, who can tell me more about the car on the photo and/or the fate of the Corniére car?

Words by Hubertus Hansmann


#13 2017-02-16 01:30
Yes Oliver I have heard the saying 'the form follows the function'. I thought for cars this would refer to how the body would smoothly wrap around the components, especially on race cars. To me the bodywork on the Voisins look to have been styled by an architect.
#12 2017-02-15 10:10
Thanks a lot for the many comments!
I just had a closer look at the pictures of the cars in the Corniere garden. The coloured picture is printed laterally reversed (the C30 never had the steering on the left side!). By that, on both pics, you can´t see the side of the car, that is pictured on my photo.
Thanks Thierry for your answer! So now the only question is about the fate of the car after the Corniere ownership!?
#11 2017-02-15 07:10
Sometimes it's good to know people who...know! A witness confirm me that this car is R. Cornière's Caravelle, and the photo was taken in his "garden". If you look closer the coloured picture, you see that the huge rear tyres are present. No informations about the door accident. For the "non-Voisinists" this car has a factory body.
#10 2017-02-15 04:47
I think you are being a bit harsh to this fine looking machine. I think it has a bit of an aggressive look - somewhat like a bull dog. Ok, the rear tires (perhaps just the tires, not the wheels) are too big, but otherwise, this is a fine looking machine.

As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
#9 2017-02-14 22:13
Hello Steve, hello Nick,

Voisin never meant to build cars that everyone would have found pleasant or that had genuine aerodynamical qualities.
These cars were meant to look as irritating as they still do.

If you take a look at the contemporary photographs in the original article, you will realize that all the awkward looking details were there from the very beginning (apart from the tyres at the rear axle).

Voisins are a class of their own, ordinary measures don't do them justice, in my opinion.

Best regards
#8 2017-02-13 21:27
It is definitely not the car offered by Grohe. That car came from the Southern part of France from a family that bought the car new. (Lost and Found, Classic & Sports Car, april 2010)
#7 2017-02-13 21:02
The Voisin, this CARAVELLE in particular, is dominantly ART plus DECO, rather than together the words are harshly next to one another without blending. That form of art, being as distinguishable as are reflections of opposite natures within the same person, is "perfection" if measured as reality.
#6 2017-02-13 20:45
I know nothing about Voisins but having restored all sorts of cars over 30 years I would say that this car has had a new rear end grafted onto the body. The rear wing does not match the front - the rear one is a 'skirted fender'. Also the boot (trunk) lid does not match. My guess is that it is a car with much modified rear body parts some of which are from another car.
#5 2017-02-13 19:09
Ugly beast, from the windscreen back it is far too big, I too am surprised by the lack of aerodynamics in Voisins.
#4 2017-02-13 11:36
Without measuring them, I would say that the front and rear wheels are the same size. It's the tyres that differ. This was a common adaptation giving the car a higher cruising speed at the expense of some acceleration, all for the price of two tyres!
I agree with Steve Diggins - the body design seems crude.

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