The Mullin Museum in Oxnard, CA is producing a number of “virtual videos” showing their extensive collection of vintage french cars. In this one, Docents Rick Eberst and David Buchko take you on an 18-minute tour of a marvelous automotive achievement — the 1935 Voisin Type C25 Aerodyne.
Gabriel B. Voisin was an aviation pioneer and manufacturer who in 1919 started producing cars using Knight-type sleeve valve engines at Issy-les-Moulineaux, an industrial suburb to the southwest of Paris. Former student of the Fine Arts School of Lyon and an enthusiast for all things mechanical since his childhood, Voisin’s uncompromisingly individual designs made extensive use of light alloys, especially aluminum.
One of the company’s most striking early designs was the Voisin Laboratoire Grand Prix car of 1923; one of the first cars ever to use monocoque chassis construction, and utilizing small radiator-mounted propeller to drive the cooling pump. (The Mullin Museum has a replica of this car that hopefully they profile in a future video.)
The characteristic Voisin style of ‘rational’ coachwork Gabriel Voisin developed in conjunction with his collaborator André Noel. Noel prioritized lightness, central weight distribution, capacious luggage boxes and distinctively angular lines. The 1930s models with their underslung chassis were strikingly low.
Voison’s relation to Citroën is cemented through a young creative engineer named André Lefèbvre. In the early 1930s, Gabriel Voisin could not pay all of his draftsmen any more and André Lefèbvre quit and was recommended by Gabriel to Louis Renault. Lefèbvre soon discovered that he did not want to work for Renault as Louis was not receptive to the innovative ideas that Lefèbvre brought forth.
André Citroën, who needed someone to tackle the advanced engineering requirements of the Traction Avant, heard about André Lefèbvre’s discontent at Renault and poached him away, giving Lefèbvre the free rein he desired to apply his expertise at Citroën. Lefèbvre did so for the balance of his career, and is credited with four particularly significant car projects: the Traction Avant, the 2CV, the H-Van and the DS.
Enjoy the tour: