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C15 (1929-1930)

Gabriel Voisin's own personal C15 'Petit Duc' was restored in 1996 in this dazzling black and yellow livery and retrimmed in the characteristic Art Déco fabric.

The car has led an interesting life, having been used in chassis form as a mobile test bed for another of Voisin's enthusiasms: one of several steam engines he designed during his career.

The car has other unique features including a 3-litre engine, small removable bonnet panels to provide additional cooling for the six-cylinder unit, and the back axle and brakes of a 33CV (modifications dictated by the need to tow the large caravan Gabriel Voisin designed for himself).

The engine's smoothness and relative silence exemplify one of the main attraction of sleeve vales for Voisin (6-sec wav file - S.I.)

Though hardly visible on these pictures, the characteristic single headlight mounted on the C pillar on the pavement side of the car is designed to illuminate the road ahead without blinding oncoming traffic.

The car has other special features of note, such as the long shallow running board boxes designed to carry Voisin's fishing rods and a rear luggage box widened to accommodate logs of the requisite length for his hearth. With a saw powered off the back axle, wood gathering was child's play.

Furthermore it is, to my knowledge, one of the few Voisins to take liberties with the traditional 'cocotte' (due to metal fatigue, no doubt...)


During its brief career, the C15 was also sold as an elegant close-coupled coupé, code named Chambellan and at right, as Charnico "Petit Duc" (from catalog).


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