Lot 260

London 2023

1925 Avions Voisin C5 Faux Cabriolet by Besset


£55,200 GBP | Sold

United Kingdom Flag | London, United Kingdom



Chassis No.
  • One of approximately 50 C5s built from 1923 to 1926
  • Powered by a 4.0-litre inline four-cylinder engine coupled to a three-speed manual gearbox
  • Painted in a charming two-tone green contrasted by a cream fabric roof, and a period-correct Art Deco velour interior
  • Restored in Switzerland between 1975 and 2006; acquired by the owner in 2014
  • Invoices on file total in excess of £12,500 since 2016; accompanied by photographs of its discovery and restoration
Please note if this vehicle is exported outside of the UK an export license will be required.

Founded by Gabriel Voisin in 1905, Avions-Voisin was run by an aviation engineer and alumni of the National School of Fine Arts in Lyon. As a result of his technical and creative training, when Voisin shifted to motor car manufacturing in 1919 his cars were feats of engineering bodied with distinctive and striking designs, with heavy use of alloys like aluminium in the bodies.

Produced from 1923 to 1926, the Avions Voisin C5 was aimed at the luxury market; due to its hefty price tag and strong competition, approximately 50 C5s were built. The engine produced a claimed 100 horsepower, good enough to power the car to 80 mph. The C5 was the first car to be fitted with hydraulic brakes, a system designed by Gabriel Voisin himself. The engine uses sleeve valve technology which Voisin considered superior to the poppet valve due to their longer life and lower noise signature. As with other luxury vehicles of the 1920s, many C5s featured unique coach-built bodies.

Joseph Besset, born in Vanosc, France in 1890, purchased his first workshop in 1913. By 1920 Carrosserie Automobile Besset had been created and he began to offer his coachbuilding services. Towards the end of the decade, Besset focused on commercial vehicle production—as a result, Besset-bodied cars are few in number and a rare sight on today’s roads.

Built in 1925, this Avions Voisin C5—chassis 2770—was sent to Carrosserie Besset’s workshop to receive an extremely special “Faux Cabriolet” closed body. It is known the car remained in France, and by 1975 had been discovered in a barn. Photographs of the car following its discovery are on file. After emerging, chassis 2770 was acquired by a Swiss enthusiast and spent the next 31 years undergoing a complete restoration, photographs of which are included in the history file. The exterior was finished in two-tone green with the interior trimmed in Art-Deco-styled velour. A notable feature of the Besset coachwork is the ‘Toit Isothermic’ double roof, offering ventilation throughout the vehicle via adjustable shutters—arguably an early form of air conditioning.

Following its restoration, this C5 was sold and remained with its second known owner until 2014, when the current owner acquired the car at auction. Chassis 2770 was imported to the UK in 2015 and has since been exhibited at various events. This Avions Voisin C5 has been the recipient of extensive care, with invoices on file from 2016 to 2019 exceeding £12,500.

A rare piece of early 20th Century French automotive history, this 1925 Avions Voisin C5 Faux Cabriolet is a charming and intriguing in equal measure, an uncommon sight on British roads that is sure to attraction the attention of pre-war motor car enthusiasts and collectors.