Gabriel Voisin was a visionary who began in aviation and then moved on to creating luxury cars.
During the First World War Voisin’s aircraft had been bombers but when that holocaust was ended Voisin decided that he’d had enough of making such things and he moved on to making luxury cars of uniqueness and beauty. During the thirties nothing any other automobile manufacturer in the world could match the creations of Gabriel Voisin, likely because no-one else was willing to take the sort of design risks he took.
Although Gabriel Voisin began in automotive design with fairly conventional cars it didn’t take him long to start applying his extensive knowledge of aircraft design and construction to his cars. He understood aerodyanamics, he valued the use of aluminium, and knew that he wanted his cars to be whisper quiet as befits a car that is perhaps better than anything Rolls-Royce were making.
To sell a luxury car the first visual impression is of the exterior. The aesthetics of the car need to capture the imagination of the potential buyer. It has to be something that pretty much takes ones breath away. That first impression must then be reinforced with an interior that one feels that one belongs in. Then when the car’s engine is started even before the buyer experiences it on the road the effect needs to be one of silent controllable power. It needs to feel like the test drive equivalent of a visit to Tiffany’s.
Gabriel Voisin’s “piece de resistance” in automotive design was and is his C28 Aérosport. The cars that preceded it were simply wonderful. The C28 Aérosport somehow managed to be his crowning piece of automotive art and engineering. The pneumatic vacuum actuated sun roof gliding open or closed bringing with it an impression like something out of a science fiction movie. The engine being a 3.3-liter six-cylinder with Knight sleeve valves. The sleeve valves are literally two sleeves that wrap around each cylinder, one for inlet and one for exhaust. These are moved up and down by a shaft which functions like a camshaft but with connecting rods attached to each sleeve.
The sleeve valve system engine is silent as it does not have noisy tappets or poppet valves clicking shut. Mated to this silent 102 bhp, 3,318 cc inline sleeve valve six-cylinder engine was a then state of the art four-speed Cotal epicyclic preselector transmission with overdrive. This effectively gives the car eight forward speeds and two reverse but of course one wouldn’t actually drive the car like that but simply choose low range or high range depending on driving circumstances.
Of the few Avions Voisin C28 Aérosports to have been built prior to the outbreak of the Second World War the car featured in our pictures is one of only two known to still exist. Although damaged during the war the car was repaired and used up until the sixties. The car was acquired by a collector in the eighties but restoration work waited until 1998 when it was purchased by its current owner.
Gabriel Voisin’s “Avions Voisin” motor cars are some of the most outstanding ever made in any era. This one is an example of his finest work.
For the first time since 1940 Oldsmobile offered totally different styling during a single model year. Third generation (1948–1953)
The top of the line 1948 Oldsmobile 98 was also included in a marketing campaign for what Oldsmobile called “Futuramic” on all 1949 Oldsmobiles primarily focused on the automatic transmission 1948 Oldsmobile Futuramic introduction. Standard equipment on 98s included a solenoid starter, fender skirts, E-Z-l rearview mirror, and foam rubber seat cushions. The 98s also included front and rear bumper guards, vacuum booster pump, plastic radiator ornament, dual horns, dual sun visors, and cigarette lighter. Deluxe equipment added front and rear floor mats, Deluxe steering wheel, wheel trim rings, rear seat armrests, and hydraulic window, seat and top controls on all convertibles. Upholstery was either broadcloth or leather. The standard tire size was 6.50 x 16. The Custom Cruiser name was retired until 1971 when it was used to denote full-size Oldsmobile station wagons. The new styling was apparently popular with a record 65,235 98s sold, exceeding the number of 90s sold in 1940 for the first time.
The following year the new styling was joined by a new engine, the now famous Rocket V8. In February 1949, several months into the model year, General Motors introduced three highly styled “hardtop convertible” coupes, the Oldsmobile 98 Holiday, the Cadillac Series 62 Coupe de Ville, and the Buick Roadmaster Riviera, the first hardtop coupes ever produced. The Holiday was exclusive to the 98 series that year. Available in four special Holiday colors, as well as four two-tone combinations, it was priced the same as the convertible, and was similarly equipped, with hydraulically operated windows and seat. Only 3,006 Holidays were sold in its first year compared to 20,049 Club coupes. Total sales reached 93,478 in 1949, setting yet another record.
The 1950 Oldsmobile 98 repeated its 1948 precedent of previewing some of next years styling cues for the 88. The 98 was restyled after only two years. It was the first totally slab sided Oldsmobile and the first sedan with wraparound rear windows. A 4-door 98 fastback appeared for one year only in 1950 and was called the Town Sedan, selling only 1,778 units. Standard equipment included bumper guards, dual horns, parking lamps, dome light, rubber floor mats, aluminum sill plates, foam rubber seat cushions, chrome interior trim, lined luggage compartment and counterbalanced trunk lid. Deluxe 98 equipment included rear seat armrest, Deluxe electric clock, Deluxe steering wheel and horn button, special door trim and stainless steel wheel trim rings. Upholstery choices spanned nylon fabric, striped broadcloth or leather. Standard tire size was 7.6 (193) by 15 inches (381 millimetres). In 1950, Oldsmobile stopped naming the 98 series and so from then through 1996, with the exception of 1957 when it was called the Starfire 98, and in 1961 when it was called the Classic 98, it was simply known as the Oldsmobile 98. Sales of the 98 Holiday nearly tripled to 8263, approaching the 11,989 sold of the Club coupe. Given the rapidly growing popularity of the 2-door Holiday hardtop, 1950 was the last year for the pillared Club coupe. Total sales set yet another record of 106,220.
The 98 topped the Oldsmobile line again for 1951 with Three body styles available. The 4-door sedan and convertible came only with Deluxe equipment, while the Holiday hardtop was available with either Deluxe or Standard trim. The 98 standard equipment included bumper guards, cigarette lighter, dome light, rubber floor mats, stainless steel moldings, lined trunk, illuminated ashtray, foam rubber seat cushions and extra chrome moldings. Deluxe equipment was special rear door ornament, rear center armrests, Deluxe electric clock, Deluxe steering wheel with horn ring and special chrome trim. Upholstery choices were nylon cord, nylon cloth and leather. The pillared Club coupe was no longer offered. With the only choice in a closed 2-door 98 now being the hardtop, Holiday sales nearly doubled to 17,929 units.
The 39-inch tall alfa romeo 33/2 stradale won the coppa d’oro at the concorso d’eleganza villa d’este which is voted for by the public.
The 1968 model, just one of twelve made, entered class D – a new world, new ideas: the story of the GT – and wondered with its spectacular body shrouding and doors that opened sky high. the mid-engine, sports coupe was, unsurprisingly, sculpted by the great italian coachmaker scaglione. underneath the lightweight exterior, it holds a V8 engine that produces 1,996 cc and 230 hp at 8,800 hp.
In the mid-1960s, Autodelta, Alfa Romeo’s competition department, was successful with the GTAm, a supercharged coupé that was a regular feature of touring car races. However, the brand wanted to enter the sport-prototype category. Presiding over the destiny of Autodelta, Carlo Chiti set to work and the result was the Tipo 33, a fairly modern car with a tube-frame chassis and a V8 engine of only 2 litres displacement mounted in the rear. Weighing only about 700 kg unladen, the 33, with its 250 to 270 bhp (depending on the engine configuration), was very quick. Thirty examples were produced and it took part in numerous competitions.
Buoyed by the success of his racing car, Chiti thought of developing a road version. He turned to the designer Franco Scaglione for his line. The 33 Stradale was unveiled at the 1967 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Italian car was beautiful, but mechanically had been toned down for road use. But not by as much as you’d think, as its four-cam V8 still developed 230 hp and allowed it to reach 260 km/h. Sold at a very high price (even more than a Lamborghini Miura!), the 33 Stradale was destined to remain a rare vehicle. In two years of production, only 18 cars left the Autodelta workshops, where they were built entirely by hand.
The Swiss collector Albert Spiess is the owner of the rare treasure finished in bright red paintwork. He received the trophy in the garden of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este accompanied by applause from the public. Spiess’s passion for collecting primarily concentrates on Italian rare treasures and this is not his first major success at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Often considered one of the most beautiful cars ever made, it has become a much sought after “unicorn” by the world’s greatest collectors. Its value is estimated at between 12 and 15 million euros!
One of 51 cars ever built; worth $2.9 million
Preston Tucker and his backers may not have made money from the 51 Tucker 48 “Torpedo” sedans built before his grandiose scheme to revolutionize the American automobile went sideways and ended up in history’s wrecking yard – but subsequent investors certainly have.
A buyer handed over a record $2.9-million (U.S.) for one of the 47 survivors in January to top the Barrett-Jackson Nevada auction.
The fast-talking Tucker raised $28-million in 1947 to launch his car company, Tucker Corp. The money came from a stock offering, down payments for dealerships and a bizarre scheme that sold accessories such as seat covers and radios to hopeful buyers, allowing them to get on a list to purchase cars that had yet to go into production.
Designed by Franco Scaglione, Nuccio Bertone, and Carlo Abarth as a one-off for the 1952 Turin Motor Show, this Fiat 1500 Abarth appeared on the Fiat stand.
It is among the earliest, if not the first, of the Fiat-based Abarths. After working on this car, Bertone went on to design the famous Alfa Romeos, B.A.T. 5,7, and 9, between 1953 and 1955. This car, therefore, has a claim on the title of B.A.T. 1 (Berlina Aerodinainca Technica). It shares the concepts and details echoed in the subsequent cars in that series.
The car carries a 75 horsepower, inline, four-cylinder engine, with overhead valves and dual Weber carburetors. It uses a four-speed gearbox and drum brakes.
The car traveled to the Packard styling studio, where it was used as a design study. it was spotted and admired by Richard Austin Smith, an associate editor of Fortune Magazine. Smith was in Detroit doing research for a magazine article on ‘Packard’s Road Back.’ during his visit, a new advertising campaign was described, but they had not coined a slogan. Mr. Smith made suggestions, which ended up being adopted. The car was presented to Mr. Smith, as compensation for his suggested slogan. Fortune management allowed Mr. Smith to accept the car, and it remained with him until his passing. The car was used for approximately 20 years, acquiring 32,000 kilometers of use, before being placed in dry storage in Connecticut.
It was discovered in a barn in New England, where it had been in storage since the 1970s. Its owner had been given the car in 1953 by Packard President James Nance, who had purchased the car at the Turin Auto Show with the idea of studying it for design ideas for Packard’s own cars. This Bertone-bodied Abarth 1500 Biposto coupe is one of the most important barn finds in recent motoring history. Fifty years after the Turin show, it was bought by its current owner who undertook its restoration.