The Voisin C14: A Masterpiece of Art Deco Design and Innovative Engineering
During its production from late 1927 to 1932, the Voisin C14 chassis emerged as one of the brand’s most prolific models, with a total of 1,795 units manufactured. Renowned for their stunning aesthetics, many C14s boasted custom bodies inspired by the Art Deco movement, including the iconic Chartre Demi-Berline designed by Andre Lefèbvre for Voisin.
Underneath its beautifully crafted exterior, the C14 featured a 2.4-litre 6-cylinder engine equipped with the patented Knight-type sleeve valve design. This revolutionary system, pioneered by Charles Knight in 1908, replaced traditional poppet valves with movable sleeves surrounding the pistons. By eliminating the need for return springs, the sleeve valve design enabled the engine to operate with minimal noise and handle high speeds with reduced stress compared to conventional pushrod configurations. Voisin recognized that the resulting quieter ride offset the slight exhaust haze caused by oil slipping between the sleeves.
In terms of transmission, the C14 employed Voisin’s renowned transfer box system, which worked in conjunction with a conventional transmission to provide separate low and high-speed ranges for each forward gear. This innovative setup utilized Cotal electric relays controlled by switches on the steering column, offering seamless gear shifting for an enhanced driving experience. Additionally, the C14 boasted power-assisted braking and Voisin’s advanced worm-gear steering, further contributing to its exceptional performance and handling.
The Voisin C14 stands as a testament to both exquisite Art Deco design and groundbreaking engineering. Its fusion of aesthetic beauty and technical ingenuity exemplifies the visionary approach of Gabriel Voisin and his team. Today, the C14 remains a symbol of automotive elegance and innovation, capturing the essence of an era defined by artistic expression and mechanical prowess.