The Unique Voisin C27 Aérosport.
The automotive creations of the innovative but highly individual French inventor Gabriel Voisin have an instantly recognisable style. The 1934 C27 Aérosport features many of its creator’s innovative patents.
The windscreen has no frame but the glass has been drilled for its bolted location and, when the retractable roof slides slowly back, the uncluttered view above to the sky feels just like being in a motor launch.
Was this a sports car to rival Bugatti, or just a motor show special to dazzle the public? Once the starter button is depressed and the 3-litre straight-six catches with a muted burble, it doesn’t sound particularly exotic. Ultimate power and torque were compromised in this complex ‘six’ in favour of near-silent running and efficient combustion, but Voisins were always built as light as possible, a legacy of their designer’s aviation experience.
The most impressive is the rigidity of the body, even when the retractable top is slid back. With the low seats and a flat floor, the driving position feels more modern than 1934, while the lozenge-shaped side window provides perfect support for the driver’s elbow.
The price was a highly exclusive USD 1 368 000, which was more than the Bugatti Type 57 Grand Raid.
Just two of C27s were built. The two-seater survived the war and was the first Voisin acquired by Californian collector Peter Mullin, who had it restored.
At some point the C27’s roof was damaged in an accident and the sliding retractable top was crudely repaired as a fixed coupé roof with a conventional windscreen.
By the 1960s the Aérosport had vanished amid stories that it had been sold to a scrap dealer. An innovative French design engineer Enter Moch acquired a large collection of Aérosport spares. Among them was a special chassis — the rear end of the car.
From this discovery, Moch conceived the idea in 2004 of rebuilding the lost coupé. Teamed with foremost French restoration specialist Dominique Tessier, Moch began drawing up plans to remake the body.
First, the underslung chassis was straightened after old crash damage was discovered and the drivetrain was rebuilt while the measurements for the one-off Aérosport coachwork were scaled up from the photographs to match the original frame.
Once Tessier was satisfied with the shape and proportions, the cabin and sliding roof were built up around the scuttle and wood frame. Only when he was happy with the roofline were the door frames constructed with signature lozenge windows and flat aluminium panels.
Tessier’s extensive experience of restoring ’30s Voisins gave him the perfect insight to recreate all the distinctive Aérosport details, such as the fluted edging to the lower body, door handles, novel bonnet mechanism and vacuum-operated roof, which was one of Voisin’s many patents.
The Aérosport took two years to complete, and to celebrate Moch had originally planned to unveil the project inside the exhibition at Le Bourget Airport, where it could be displayed with the only surviving WW1 Voisin III pusher biplane. In September 2021, the C27 returned to Europe for the first time.