Mullin said his 1935 C25 sold new for 88,000 francs, roughly the same price as a Bugatti roadster of the day. Yet a Voisin had infinitely more panache, said Jonathan Stein, an automotive historian and classic car judge.
Voisin buyers included the upper crust of French society, including actors Maurice Chevalier and Rudolph Valentino, architect Le Corbusier and writer H.G. Wells.
The global economic crisis of the 1930s spelled doom for a company relying on only a small subset of wealthy buyers.
"By 1934 the market was off; people just couldn't afford this stuff," Adatto said. "But, man, did it look good."
After losing control of his company in 1932 and then returning in 1933, Voisin was forced to permanently shut his operation in 1937, Adatto said.
Voisin made a pass at the other end of the automotive spectrum shortly after World War II, designing a microcar called the Biscooter. This inexpensive and lightweight two-passenger car went on to sell more than 12,000 units in Spain, according to Mullin. One of the early prototypes is also on display in his museum.
Despite his contributions to the automotive landscape and his successful aircraft company, Voisin always felt slighted for his contributions to flight being overshadowed by the Wright brothers. "He took it pretty hard," Mullin said. "It frustrated him forever."
So it is with some irony that a resurgence of interest in Voisin's machines has been with his cars rather than his planes.
"His aircraft were great in their time, and they contributed a significant amount to the early period of flight," said Peter Jakab, associate director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Nevertheless, clear evidence suggests the Wright brothers were indeed building and flying superior planes earlier than the Voisin brothers, Jakab said.
Voisin largely retired from the professional world by 1960, spending his remaining 13 years surrounded by women and writing his memoirs. His declining years were spent living with two women in a house by a river, according to Adatto.
"He was a real man about town," Adatto said. "He was as passionate about his women as he was his airplanes, cars and motorcycles."