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A vintage car sale.

1957 Voisin Biscooter by Gabriel Voisin.

Car design has only just reached its angst-ridden teenage years, by comparison to the millennia architecture has had to mature. It is perhaps only now facing its first proper identity crisis, as the basis upon which it was founded, the internal combustion engine, is rejected for environmental reasons.

The cause of the crisis is spare power. The trouble is, that in rejecting the internal combustion engine it calls into question most other aspects of the car's design that were developed around it. In particular without adequate power that can be quickly refuelled, the vehicle's power consumption and therefore its weight and size, becomes critical.

We have been here before of course, and the selling of the contents of the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum based in Madison Georgia provides an opportunity to look at how designers responded the last time power and resources were in short supply.

At the end of WW2 the aircraft industry was massive. Without the need for such production capability, engineers and designers turned to the problem of personal transport. The 1957 Voisin Biscooter by Gabriel Voisin is a rare and elegant example of the kind of vehicle experiment being tried in the decade and half leading to the 1960s, and the current consensus on what cars should look like.

Cruise the auctioneers catalogue to get a more detailed look at what was happening at the time.

The question for me is can the automotive industry step up to the mark this time? Perhaps it could benefit from some outside thinking from latter day aircraft engineers to come at the problem from a different angle.

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