Monday, 1 August 2011

Voisin C6 Laboratoire

What we have here is a recreation of the 1923 Voisin C6 Laboratoire. Built on an original chassis, it has an aluminium-blocked 2.0-litre, six-cylinder engine offering 75bhp.
The propeller you see on the nose harnesses kinetic energy to turn the coolant circulation pump, although this system wasn't enough to allow the C6 to actually finish races; in its debut Grand Prix in 1923, four C6s started but none finished. However, being the first Grand Prix car to feature lightweight monocoque construction, it certainly set a precendent for innovation. (Just not in terms of weird propeller set-ups.)
Gabriel Voisin's design is here showcased by some artfully degraded film, and you can see the winged helmet sitting on top of the body, echoing Voisin's trademark bonnet ornament. He was an innovator, a man keen to apply aerospace tech to road cars, and we can see touches on the car - wheel discs, flat-bottomed steering-wheel, scaled-down windscreen - that are commonplace in various forms of motorsport today. The C6 Laboratoire is an interesting and, sadly, largely-forgotten curio.

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