1935 Voisin C25 Aérodyne wins Best in Show at 2023 Amelia Concours d’Elegance
Rain splashed upon the cars gathered for Saturday morning’s shows at Amelia Island, Florida, but Sunday shone blue-sky perfect for the 28th Annual Amelia Concours d’Elegance. It was particularly resplendent for noted collectors Merle and Peter Mullin and their 1935 Avions Voisin Type C25 Aérodyne, which was awarded 2023’s Best in Show.
“Winning here at this beautiful venue on this beautiful day on Amelia Island has been an A-plus experience for us,” says Merle Mullin. “We were up against some serious contenders, so I am very honored that the judges chose us to win.”
Concours prizes and top-flight shows are old hat for this particular Type C25 Aérodyne, chassis number 50010. Purchased by the Mullins in the early 2000s, the Voisin underwent a comprehensive, three-year restoration that was completed in time to participate in and win Best in Show at 2011’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It remains one of only a handful of four-door cars to secure the honor.
The Type C25 Aérodyne, which debuted at the 1934 Paris Salon de l’Automobile, presented airplane pioneer and manufacturer Gabriel Voisin’s take on “the car of the future.” One of just six made and only four known to exist today, the Aérodyne showcased Voisin’s focus on light weight, with alloy touches, including headlight trim, lights on the fenders, and door handles made specifically for this car.
Perhaps its most notable highlight is the electrically retractable roof, a novel concept for the ’30s. Technical innovations weren’t limited to the luxurious accommodations, however, as the Aérodyne also sports an early form of adjustable suspension. Powered by an inline six-cylinder, sleeve-valve engine, the car is exceedingly quiet while running, even by modern standards.
The Aérodyne’s advancements are accented by its opulent presence. Embodying Art Deco design while managing to cut its own avant-garde profile, the car’s flowing lines and stark creases between horizontal and vertical panels present an aeronautical visual, hinting at Voisin’s other profession. That theme continues on the interior, with gauges that wouldn’t look out of place on an airplane.
Now, about that interior. Dramatic gray-and-black upholstery covers the Voisin’s seats and panels. During the restoration, Peter Mullin (whose name you might recognize from the Mullin Automotive Museum) identified the fabric company that originally produced the material; miraculously, the design remained in the company’s archives. He also located the looms and, unbelievably, two of the craftsmen who operated them back in the ’30s. As a result, the interior was completely retrimmed, as part of the Aérodyne’s restoration, but the cabin looks just like it did all those years ago.
That level of diligence extends to every part on this Aérodyne.
“I have the blessing of being married to a passionate car collector who’s never, ever restored a car with the intent of winning a prize. His intention has always been to restore a car to its historical correctness,” says Merle Mullin.
“But winning a prize is greatly validating, and it’s always fun to win, though we’re never disappointed if we don’t.”
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The levels to which the Mullins went to ensure accuracy are truly impressive. Deserving win, IMO.
That interior pattern is giving me a headache. Can anyone say the Camo pattern on the Bismark. Yes I know German warship reference on French automobile, how Gauche.
Bismarck ?! One of my favorite warships of all time! Yes the interior seems odd but you have to admit this car was something to look at unlike todays boring plastic clones designed by accountants. Bismarck ? Wow!
My eyes cross looking at the interior fabric – anywhere else would the design be a form of digital camo today?
I agree with the above comments re the interior. I couldn’t spend much time inside that beautiful auto.
Hopefully you would be enjoying the view down the road across that beautiful hood.
is the only rear lighting, the license plate side fixtures ?? scary
A great show once again, and a worthy Best in Show, Concours de Elegance winner. However, it did appear that there was a decrease in the number of vehicles on display compared to past years when Bill Warner was at the helm. Does anyone know whether this was intentional? Also, it appears Hagerty eliminated the Best in Show, Concours de Sport award. Again, does anyone know why? My vote would have gone to the Porsche 917/30 driven by Mark Donohue. A highlight for me was watching them fire up a Miller race car that employed a large “shotgun” shell to power an air motor to crank the engine!
Hagerty didn’t eliminate it. The Concours de Sport car is in a separate story. Since both of these awards (and the cars that get them) are so special, I think it appropriate to give each their own spotlight and not try to cram too much into one article.
Yeah the interior does seem out of place for the vehicle. it seems more of today and someone trying digital camo. It’s a pretty neat car either way.
It only looks like digital camo because Art Deco era fashion was ahead of its time. Learn more here:
Considering the cars they have which are very rare indeed have a special place in automotive history. Especially in design and function. We look at these cars today and say I’m not sure I would like to have one but then when you consider the time in which they were designed and built they were way ahead of their time. I think the cars were rather simple designs with little to no rounded edges from the roof line to the side body but then maybe since they were hand made it was much too difficult to work the metal like that instead they concentrated on the fenders instead of the body edges and corners. I look at the Duesenberg and thing now they had it together in both design and function and the testament to that is the price they hold at auction. Everybody loves the Dusey’s But then these are cars built in Europe and their designs are different than the US cars. They tend to copy each other in design to some degree and we use to build cars that you could tell one from the other from a quarter mile away sometime after the 40’s . Indeed they are beautiful cars and deserve the awards they have because they are history and rare too.
I see headlights but does it have stop lamps and tail lights somewhere we can’t see?
There look to be small red lenses on either side of the rear tag, as well as tiny ones on top of the rear fenders. You’ve got to squint and look close at the pictures, but it does appear as if there are indeed stop/tail lights.
When I saw this vehice on the lawn, my first impression was it was Citroen 2CV (deux cheval) on steroids. A quite beautiful car.