RM Sotheby’s will reprise its role as the official auction house of Florida’s renowned Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, March 12, with the presentation of its 18th annual collector car sale at the Ritz-Carlton.
Early highlights for the March sale include a group of pre-war classics, led by a rare 1927 Avions-Voisin C14 Lumineuse, chassis no. 28578. Aerodynamic force and center of gravity were of the utmost importance to French aircraft manufacturer Voisin, who was the first to take these factors into consideration when the company began constructing automobiles following World War I under the name Avions-Voisin. Using aluminum panels over wooden ribs, their bodies were light, sturdy and functional.
Derived from the company’s first six-cylinder engine model, the C11, the C14 was introduced in 1927 and featured many patented components, including its unique door mechanism, window mechanism, horn controls and pneumatic relay on its transmission. The C14 also featured unusually large window openings, as well as strategically placed side baggage compartments to balance the vehicle’s weight distribution. This avant-garde design was the car of choice for some of the most famous artists of the era, including Maurice Chevalier, Josephine Baker and Paul Morand. One of just four known surviving examples, 28578 is certainly the most interesting of the group in terms of provenance and presentation. It was originally owned by none other than Avions-Voisin co-founder Gabriel Voisin, before later making its way into the collection of cutting-edge architect “Le Corbusier,” a pioneer of modern architecture, who often included the car in the photography of buildings he designed.
In the years since, the car has actively participated in several car rallies, as well as being displayed at numerous exhibitions, including “100 Years of Design” at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1993. More recently, the owner commissioned a meticulous restoration to return to the car to its original configuration, a project that included the masterful recreation of the car’s eye-popping original Paul Poiret Art Deco upholstery.