This 1972 Citroën DS21 is fresh from a restoration in which 2,500 hours are said to have been spent converting it to a Chapron découvrable replica, a rare coachbuilt model distinguished by the landaulet folding roof mechanism.
For sale in Froges, France for 55.000 euros (~$65,300 US) see the listing here:
Only one original car was built by custom coachbuilder Henri Chapron in 1970. It was commissioned by Le Provencal, a French newspaper as a way to follow the “Tour de France”. As well as being a great promotional vehicle, rear passengers were able to stand and have a better view of the riders in front of the car and photograph the race. The original was built from a DSuper, not the more complicated and expensive DS21.
Original Chapron Découvrable history. It’s also for sale:
At the start of the 1970s, regional daily papers were thriving. Day in, day out, in the old port of Marseille, copies of Le Provencal, with ink barely dry, would be read from cover to cover by fisherman and sailors alike. This was how they discovered the news, regional and national, as well as the life of the Bouches-du-Rhônes, notably the latest sports news. It was therefore completely legitimate for the management of Le Provencal to equip themselves with a vehicle which would allow them to cover various sporting events while proudly representing the daily paper on its business trips.
It was a logical step, therefore, to choose a Citroën D Super saloon from the 1970 range. This specification was selected because the ID20 engine was reputed to be reliable, being less sophisticated than the DS 21 and therefore easier to repair.
The car was given to the coachbuilder Henri Chapron from Levallois. He knew the car well and had no problems designing a totally convertible four-door saloon that retained the side supports to keep the platform rigid. The car was painted white with a black hood that folded away completely – including the rear window – at the back. The car was registered with the number 121 DY 13.
The car was driven during cycle races by two drivers form Marseille, Mr Armand Delpéro and Mr Philippe Esteve (deceased) who took turns during the stages. In the back was Mr Maurice Tailleu (deceased in 2006), a sports journalist specializing in cycling. Maurice Tailleu’s son, Michel Tailleu, took part in sporting events with his father, and remembers that the names of the papers ” Le Provençal ” and ” Le Soir ” both appeared on the car. He also recollects two yellow ” Le Provencal ” flags attached to the front bumpers.
Mr Armand Delpéro is said to have taken delivery of the car in 1970 at the Quai de Javel, after it had been run in on the way to Marseille from the Chapron workshop in Levallois. In 1978, the car became obselete for the job of representing a regional paper that wanted to project a modern image. It was bought by a psychiatrist from Marseille, Dr Dominique Lardennois. Deciding that it stood out too much in white, he had the car painted black by a former Chapron employee, who also crafted a new beige hood for him. The interior fabric, rather tired from the intensive use it had had from sporting journalists, was replaced with a Pallas leather finish and post 1968 DS front fenders with “cat’s-eye” turning headlights were fitted.
In 1982, the D Super Chapron convertible changed hands. It became the property of Pierre Vassiliu (composer of the 1970’s hit song in France “Qu’est-ce qu’y fout, qu’est-ce qu’il a, l’a une drôle de caisse, ce gars-là !” – What the hell is that he has, it’s a strange car, that guy has.) True to the lyrics of the song, he gave the car “une drôle de gueule”, a funny face, by painting it green with a black hood. For seven years the car was driven round the country lanes in Luberon in this distinctly rural livery, registered as 7628 RW 84.
Bought by an enthusiast from Toulouse in 1989, the car then spent twenty-two long years resting in a barn. It was finally saved from this imprisonment by a Parisian collector who treated the car to a total restoration. In deference to its origins, he painted it white, with a black hood. Just the leather interior with Pallas finish was preserved, and the car was re-registered AZ 720 HX.
Forty-one years after it was built, the car will sold to a new collector on February 6 2015, at the Artcurial auction during Retromobile in Paris.