A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £148,500
Just as it had done 21 years previously with the revolutionary 'Traction Avant', Citroën stunned the world again in 1955 with the launch of the strikingly styled 'DS'. Beneath the shark-like newcomer's aerodynamically efficient, low-drag bodyshell there was all-independent, self-levelling, hydro-pneumatic suspension; plus, power-operated brakes, clutch, and steering. No European car would match the DS's ride quality for several years, the fundamental soundness of Citroën's ahead-of-its-time hydro-pneumatic suspension being demonstrated by its survival in present-day top-of-the-range models. The DS's original 1,911cc, overhead-valve, long-stroke engine was replaced in 1966 by a short-stroke 1,985cc unit, also available in 2,175cc and 2,347cc capacities, while other DS developments included a restyled front end, swivelling headlights, fuel injection, and a five-speed gearbox.
Other models offered alongside the original DS were the ID (a simplified, cheaper version), the cavernous Safari estate, and the two-door Décapotable (convertible), the latter boasting coachwork by Henri Chapron. (Chapron's first convertibles had been produced independently of Citroën, but the factory eventually gave the project its blessing). Despite a much-reduced demand for bespoke coachwork after WW2, Chapron survived thanks to his exemplary creations for Delahaye, Talbot and Salmson, switching to offering bespoke versions of unitary construction models when motor manufacturers began to abandon the traditional separate chassis frame. The arrival of the Citroën DS in 1955 presented Chapron with a fresh opportunity that would result in his name being forever linked with this remarkable car.
Citroën's own Décapotables were built on the longer, stronger chassis of the ID Break (Estate) but the model was never produced in England, where Citroën's right-hand drive cars were assembled at its Slough factory up to 1966. In total, 1,365 'usine' (factory) convertibles were made with either the DS19 or DS21 engine between 1960 and 1971, while Chapron built a further 389 of his own, the last in 1973.
Built in 1964, this DS19M (for Mécanique, indicating a manual gearbox) Décapotable (body/shell number: 0013001220) is a right-hand drive model, a particular specification for the British market, promoted as the model with the slightly uprated DW engine. It has the original-style front end pre-dating the revised version introduced in 1967.
The car was first registered in May 1965 in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire and went on to have six owners up until 1976, when it was taken off the road with a view to some bodywork restoration. The story goes that this was started but not finished. The car spent most of the 1980s and 1990s sat in the Citroën dealers in Llandudno, North Wales, in the ownership of the parts manager Mr David Williams. In early 1997 the dealership closed, so Mr Williams offered the car for sale, still in need of restoration and in April 1997, the car, complete and running, was bought by Mr Tony Stokoe. The odometer reading was 48,221 miles and was believed correct given how genuine and mechanically sound the car was. In August 1997, Mr Stokoe set about commissioning a thorough restoration of the car, documented with photos on a CD-ROM, employing Citroën specialist ‘Installation Services’ of Oswestry to remedy the bodywork and hood, painting the car Royal Blue (AC.619), an original DS Chapron colour.
Andrew Brodie of Brodie Engineering, London worked as a consultant on the project and supplied many Chapron parts and specialist trim items. Likewise, Graham Lange at the Oxford French Car Company provided many early DS parts. The car was stripped, repaired, and welded with new and correct panels fitted as appropriate, with all mechanical components being overhauled. The seats, trim and hood all were all renewed with the correct materials.
This beautiful DS is now ready for a new owner but will require a small amount of recommissioning due to being stored. A real opportunity to acquire a very desirable car knowing all the major work has been already carried out.
In recent years, this car has formed part of a large collection and as such has received little or no use and an element of recommissioning is to be expected to return it to the road once again. Your inspection pre-sale is welcomed and encouraged to appreciate the potential of this rarely offered motor car.
You can now book a one-to-one appointment (up to one hour) to view this lot at our central location between 16th and 30th July. Please contact Joe on 07779 082707 / firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your appointment or to discuss the car in more detail. The health and safety of both our customers and team remain the utmost priority, we are therefore operating to strict COVID-19 guidelines and full instructions for arrival and inspection protocols will be given when making your appointment.