Hey there, Bad Lookin’
On the lower end of the classy scale, Dick Tuttle’s 1964 Peel Trident took Best of Show on Saturday at the Concours d’LeMons in Seaside.
Scott Bosés’ 1949 Viosin Biscooter takes home the 2013 Concours d’LeMons Worst of Show honors. What makes it so bad? Where to begin… well the obvious is that its a Voisin. Known for his very elegant pre-war cars Gabriel Voisin tried to get a post war France back on the road with the Biscooter. It didn’t work. Even in war torn France motorists had a sense of style and pride hence only 15 Biscooters were made. The public resoundingly rejected them. The design languished until many years later the Spanish, the only country worse off then France in the automobile dept, licensed the design and made thousands of them… setting Spain’s war time recovery back decades.
Looking like it was made with a sheet metal press in the dark the Biscooter is a study in how to avoid compound curves. Gone are the elegant lines and aircraft inspired features. In their place are utilitarian starkness. Its aluminum body is made to be as light as possible so that the anemic 125cc proprietary two stroke motor wont have much weight to push around. The motor itself is a wonder. Its air AND water cooled. The head looks like a hammer head shark with a closed water cooling jacket. One can imagine that if the water were heated enough the system would just explode in order to relieve the pressure. The fuel tank is positioned directly above the exhaust manifold of the forward placed engine. This will save the one the embarrassment of having survived any accidents. If the scalding and immolation don’t finish off the driver the solid shaft of the steering column aimed at his throat just might.
What it lacks in style or safety the Biscooter makes up in arcane features. Pre-war Voisin’s were known for their innovative gearing systems, something needed on large luxury barges, but not so much on golf cart sized death traps. But Gabriel soldiered on with the design giving the Biscsooter a two speed gear box AND two speed axle. All of which are controlled by a series of levers on the steering column that give it the appearance of a Rube Goldberg nightmare. The convertible top could have just been giving a latch to secure it to the top of the windscreen, but why do that when one can fit the windscreen to a hinge and have it tilt back via a crank and bevel gear set in order to tension and latch the fabric top. Yet another inexplicable hold over from pre-war designs. Pre-war Voisin’s are known for emitting a smoke screen that a could hide a battle ship and the Biscooter’s two stroke engine continues the tradition in spectacular fashion. Its exhaust tip is a thin slit that runs the length of the rear bumper allowing the smoke exit in a cascading sheet of semi-burnt castor oil and petrol. Stunning really, unless you are the unfortunate victim trapped behind this contraption in traffic.
This is one of the two prototypes owned by Gabriel Voisin himself. While he did not meet his fate while at the wheel of this vehicle he did own it until his demise. Making this example one of the rarest and worst pieces of automotive history on the planet and securing its well deserved Worst of Show title.