1931 Avions Voisin C20 Mylord Demi-Berline

Gabriel Voisin was born in 1880 and would become one of France's most famous renaissance men of the times. He had formal training in architecture - and like his brother Charles - had a passion for adventure, invention and all things mechanical. By 1899, the brothers had assembled their very first motorcar; they first commercial venture, however, was aeroplanes. By 1906, they were producing planes for sale and offering flying instructions. Voisin is also credited with developing the world's first aeroplane made entirely of metal. Sadly, Charles was killed in 1912 in an accident.

By the time World War I came to a close, Gabriel had amassed a large empire. He used his wealthy and factories to help Europe in the rebuilding process. Prefabricated housing were being built for the masses, and in 1919 the first production car bearing the Voisin name was introduced.

Many companies used racing to promote their product; Avions Voisin automobiles were proven in a different fashion - by setting World Records.

In 1931, the company introduced their first V-12 powered car which had a displacement size of 4.9 liters from the sleeve-valved engine. The engine produced 114 horsepower which was sent to the rear wheels with the help of a four-speed gearbox. The V-12 cars were sold on three distinctly named chassis: The C18 Diane (Normal), the C21 Mistral (Short) and the C20 Simoun (Sport). The C18 Diane had a 105 horsepower engine and was intended to carry formal bodies for grand touring. The C21 Mistral was to carry smaller, four-passenger bodies for higher speeds. The C20 Simoun Underslung chassis had the higher 115 horsepower engine and was intended for high speeds, competition and record-breaking. Between the three types of chassis, a total of 159 examples were produced, including less than 30 units for the C20. All wore bespoke bodies designed by Voisin and his long-time friend from architect school, Noel.

This 1931 one-off Voisin C20 has stood the test of time and has won. It was treated to a restoration and shown at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where the Voisin marque was the feature. It is powered by a rare V12 engine with sleeve-valves mated to a four-speed gearbox. The engine produces over 110 horsepower, which is more than adequate to carry this lightweight, aluminum art-deco vehicle to speeds reaching 150 km/h. It has a Demi-Berline style coachwork and was given the code-name, Mylord.

This 1931 Voisin V-12 underslung chassis with 2-door saloon coachwork by Gabriel Voisin is the only known survivor. It seems fitting that Gabriel Voisin's surname should be an anagram for vision, as the French inventor often was ahead of his time when creating vehicles, whether they were intended to be driven or flown. In 1931, at the height of its so-called square angle period, Voisin introduced his C20 Simoun Demi-Berline, this 12-cylinder vehicle that originally sold for $7,800 (140,000 French Francs), a price few could afford during the Depression and at least 40% higher than a comparable Bugatti or Hispano-Suiza automobile. It is believed that fewer than 100 Voisin-built cars still exist with this car being the most important and most valuable. The earliest ownership in unknown. It is rumored to have been hidden behind a false wall in Paris shortly after World War II ended. It was purchased by Parisian automotive journalist and historian Jean Djaniguian who sold the car in December of 1950 to D.

Cameron Peck of Chicago for $500. Mr. Peck sold the car to Mr. Maynard Buchanan who restored the car in a cream over blue color scheme, keeping it until his passing in 1970. In the summer of 1971, Dr. Gerald Rolph of Fort Worth, Texas became the next care taker for the car. Dr. Rolph kept the car until May 1986, selling it to the Blackhawk Collection in Danville, California. The Blackhawk cosmetically restored the car, bringing it back to the original black paint configuration. In 2006, it was displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in a special Voisin exhibition. In 2007 it was sold to Lee Munder of West Palm Beach, Florida. Mr. Munder had the car disassembled and restored once again to the highest standards. In 2009, it won Best of Show at the Amelia Island Concours. A year later, it was consigned to Gooding & Company's inaugural Amelia Island auction, where it was purchased by John W. Rich Sr. of Pennsylvania.

Descriptions & pictures by conceptcarz & supercars & ultimatecarpage & flickr & other

Production Start 1931
Country of origin France