It was I think motoring writer Leonard Setright who coined, or broadcast, the penetrating rhyme: “One man’s meat’s another man’s poison – my favourite car’s an Avions Voisin.”
Now anyone familiar with the – ahem – looks of the average Voisin (if any of them could be described as ‘average’) will completely grasp the point. Enthusiasm for motor sport and for fine and interesting old cars in general is an extremely broad church.
But there are points of contact between even the most isolationist disciples of one-marque interest – between the Ferrariphiles and the Riley nuts, the ’Nashers and the Red Bull Racing fans, the AMG-Mercedes F1 freaks and the old-time Sizaire et Naudin faction or even Les Bugattistes or the Alfisti. One major shared interest focuses simply upon what constitutes a right and proper surviving example of each marque. How can we assess comparative originality, the intrinsic quality of the artefact – when can a car be regarded as ‘original’? And ‘how original’?