Monterey | Lot 253
1938 Avions Voisin C28 Cabriolet by Saliot
$800,000 - $1,000,000 USD
| Monterey, California
19 August 2017
- Offered from a prominent private collection
- One of two known Voisins commissioned for Saliot
- Exceptional modern one-off styling
- Fully restored in the early 21st century
Very few of Gabriel Voisin’s fascinating, idiosyncratic automobiles, with their sleeve-valve engines and elaborate mechanical workings, were produced with custom coachwork.
The C28 offered here, the second such chassis produced, is one of just two Voisins known with coachwork attributed to R. Saliot, a facility originally established in 1920 in Levallis-Perret, and later moved to Neuilly in 1938. Saliot was one of the foremost Voisin service and maintenance depots, and occasionally “produced” a “Saliot Special” body on the chassis, with rather flamboyant coachwork, the actual building of which was always contracted to another shop; Saliot itself had no coachbuilding facilities.
Exactly which shop produced the body on this particular C28 is not known, but it is believed to have been installed for the Neuilly facility in 1946 or 1947, as the second body on this 1938 chassis, and its lines bear strong resemblance to period works by Faget-Varnet and Van den Plas (Belgium). A history of Saliot, a copy of which is on file, describes the car as Saliot’s attempt to build an entire new automobile after the war, something that never came to fruition.
Saliot eventually gave the cabriolet to Father Jean Gehard, a Benedictine monk and longtime confidante of Gabriel Voisin, who enjoyed it for many years. In 1967 it was sold at auction, reportedly to a film producer, in order to fund the building of a new monastery! Later it was acquired by a German enthusiast, Hans Bitterwold, from whose collection it was sold in the early 1990s to a longtime Voisin historian. This owner performed considerable research into the Saliot company, while overseeing a complete restoration of the car – first in metallic blue, then in the present livery. It was shown throughout Europe as well as, in 2006, at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Accompanying the car today are various historical documents and research, including the aforementioned history of Saliot, various photographs of the C28 throughout its long history, and assorted restoration photographs and videos.
Presently part of a well-known private American collection, this ranks among the most modern examples of the scarce custom coachwork on the fascinating Voisin chassis. It would be a superb addition to any collection of Art Deco French automobiles and is sure to entrance all who see it.