Page 1 of 2 Next >> Particularly hard hit by the financial crisis of the early 1930s were luxury manufacturers like Voisin; many of the company's loyal customers simply could no longer afford to indulge. As unconventional as the cars he produced, Gabriel Voisin's solution to the quickly dwindling sales was at best counter-intuitive. Instead of switching to simpler models and broaden the potential customer base, he stepped up and developed some of his most advanced models yet.
Dubbed the C25 Aérodyne, the first of this new three-model range was previewed at the 1934 Paris Auto Salon Using a modified version of the earlier C24 chassis as a basis, this prototype mainly served as the preview of Voisin's new design direction, while a brand new radial engine was developed. For the first time in many years Gabriel Voisin had been solely responsible for the lines, following the split with designer/artist Andre 'Noël-Noël' Telmont. Although some of the familiar Voisin cues were retained the aptly named Aérodyne design was considerably smoother and more aerodynamic.
Especially the nose of the new four-door saloon, with the struts supporting the lightweight fenders, was still vintage Voisin. It is the 'fastback' rear that set the Aérodyne apart from the previous designs. This sported a completely integrated trunk, which allowed for the car's most striking feature; the sliding roof. Powered by two vacuum pumps fitted in the trunk, the ingenious system allowed the entire roof to slide back. To maintain rearward visibility the roof was equipped with several 'portholes' that lined up with the rear window.
Voisin had planned to equip the production version of the C25 with a brand new 7-cylinder radial engine but tests early in 1935 yielded disappointing results, so he was forced to revert back to the tried and tested sleeve-valve engine. Built under a Knight patent, Voisin's latest version was a straight six with a displacement of just under three litres. Equipped with two Zenith carburettors the very quiet unit produced around 90 bhp. It was mated to a two-speed electromechanical gearbox with overdrive on both gears, effectively giving the car four forward gears. Page 1 of 2 Next >>