1973 Citroen DS Decapotable
(Featured on 9th January 2012)
Sellers original description:
Citroën's iconic D Series cars have enjoyed countless accolades since the inaugural DS19 model first saw the light of day at the Paris Salon in 1955. The futuristic design of its Flaminio Bertoni-penned body was a stunning sight in the austere world of the '50s, and remains so to this day.
The newcomer was powered by an updated 1911cc version of the OHV four-cylinder unit previously found in the Traction Avant. The gearbox was mounted ahead of the engine and the differential sandwiched between the two. Braking was by inboard-mounted discs at the front and drums at the rear. Steering was by rack and pinion. Though the DS sold well from the outset, it was nevertheless beyond the pocket of many potential buyers and Citroën addressed this in 1956 with the launch of the more modestly priced ID19. It had the same basic body and mechanical architecture of the DS19 but initially lacked its hydraulically-operated clutch and gearchange and powered steering and braking systems.
The ID range was subsequently developed in parallel to the DS and by 1972 was offered in three versions - the 1985cc D Special and D Super and the 115bhp 2175cc D Super 5. By then, ID specifications had greatly improved and the latter was equipped with powered steering and braking and a five-speed manual gearbox. Some 1.5 million D Series Citroëns were produced and the model immortalised in such films as The Goddess of 1967 and The Day of the Jackal.
The early days of the new DS were troubled and the first few years of production left little time or money to develop any new models. Bertoni had always envisaged a drophead version of the DS, but it was old-established coachbuilder Henri Chapron who produced the first DS Décapotable.
Citroen, with its own convertible still in mind, refused to sell Chapron a chassis, so he bought a complete car from a local dealer. This first conversion was given quarter lights, the door was lengthened by 10cm (4in) and the gap between it and the standard rear wing filled with a glassfibre panel. Car number two, displayed at the 1958 Paris Salon, dispensed with the quarter light and a vertical chrome strip was used to hide the join between rear wing and the side panel. The car soon acquired a name, La Croisette, and found 25 customers.
Citroen eventually recognised the wisdom of sub-contracting what would always be a low-volume model and the Chapron-built cabriolet appeared as a catalogued model at that year’s Paris Salon. From now on Citroen modified and reinforced the platform at the factory before delivering a rolling chassis to Chapron.
Values of Chapron DS Decapotable's have rocketed in the past 20 years with prices ranging from £80,000 to £150,000 being achieved. The option offered here has all of the style at a fraction of the lowest price of an original.
Dee-Ess Conversions Limited of Malvern, Worcestershire, took DS saloons and rebodied them along the lines of the Chapron cabriolets.
Using modern materials such as Composite GRP for the doors, boot lid, head rail and rear wings and a hood frame to the original Chapron design.
This example is based on a 1973 DS saloon, with 20,000 recorded miles and was built in 1990. During the conversion the car also benefited from engine and gearbox rebuilds. In 2003 the car was acquired by Citroen Dealer - DS World - with the intention of restoring it but it lay in storage until 2010, when it was purchased by the Vendor. The car was then given to Howard Simmons Restorations of Bolney, East Sussex where it underwent light restoration and a full repaint in the original Citroen hue of Ivoir Borley (Cream). The car was then retrimmed with the new leather and was equipped with a new hood, carpets and tonneau cover by The Trimming Centre of Shoreham by Sea.
This stunning Citroen is said to have covered just 21000 miles from new but has benefited from engine and transmission rebuilds and the full restoration. The car is therefore, as near to a new DS Decapotable as a mere mortal is ever going to get and at a price that is affordable to many.
This is a very rare car in it being a Dee-Ess conversion but also a Right Hand Drive Car, this is the perfect car to take to good wood next year.