Citroënvie member Michael Gillespie has made one of his retirement priorities to organize all his old photos and scan them.
He sent George Dyke a photo he found from a roll of film he shot during a visit to Montreal in the summer of 1969. Michael immediately recognized the car a custom bodied Chapron DS but wondered what the exact model was and if there was a Citroen dealer in the downtown area? At the time he did not realize how rare the car was and wondered where it ended up?
Click on any image to enlarge.
This photo has proved to be invaluable on two fronts; First, what Michael managed to capture was a DS21 Concorde Coupe by Henri Chapron. (Correction: It is not a Concorde Coupe. It is a Chapron Le Leman. The Chapron Concorde Coupe has a slightly higher and more squared off roofline in the rear.) It is being carefully driven over the sidewalk and if you look to the far left notice there is a ramp. When George saw the picture, he remembered the article that we posted on our blog back on Feb. 26, 2014 describing Citroën’s Montreal showroom in the mid-1960′s. This picture could help determine its exact location.
Based on reader input in the February blog it was stated that the showroom was near the old Montreal Form building located at Sainte-Catherine St. W, and Atwater Ave. Michael’s picture of the DS Concorde Coupe gave George the impetus to do some detective work to pinpoint the location:
Michael took the photo on the south side of Sainte-Catherine St. W. just across from the Alexis Nihon Plaza. George spotted a ‘Miracle Mart’ sign on the large building across the street. George’s grandparents (on his mother’s side) lived close by in Westmount at the time. Though he knew the area and thought there was a “Miracle Mart’ in the Alexis Nihon Plaza that the time, he wanted to check and so he called his mother Ruth Dyke (also a Citroënvie member) who is 93 years of age but still sharp as a tack. Mom recalled buying goods in that very Miracle Mart in the late 1960’s and she was pretty sure it was the only Miracle Mart anywhere on Sainte-Catherine St.
That confirmation led George to try to map the photo to known structures that remain today. This where Google maps and ‘street view’ in particular come in handy! In the background of the photo is an apartment building. And the Alexis Nihon Plaza still exists though with a somewhat altered front facade.
In Photoshop, George superimposed the photograph in a street scene looking west along Sainte-Catherine St. from Atwater Ave. Both the apartment building, the Alexis Nihon Plaza and some of the remaining buildings on the south side of Sainte-Catherine St. enabled George to get a fairly good idea where the DS Concorde was crossing the sidewalk.
Next George went to that spot in Google street view. The fire hydrant on the sidewalk and the street parking sign (now cut lower) were great indicators to help establish where that ramp was going in the original photo. Just to the left of the fire hydrant there is recessed entrance to a building that is still pretty much the same today. So going east it would appear that the DS is going in a storefront about 3 establishments east of that entrance.
Looking at street view and being fortunate to have the photo from our blog in February showing the actual showroom, George superimposed that photo over street view and voila – A perfect match!
Today one half (the east section) of the showroom is a “Buffalo Bill” Wings fast food restaurant while the other half (the west part) is Japanese restaurant called Imadake. The doors to Imadake (they were functioning double doors when Citroën was there, were the only to get cars into the showroom! They were opened, ramp(s) were in place and Michael just happened to be in the prefect spot to take the amazing photo.
Now, thanks to Michael, feedback from our readers in February and George’s visual sleuthing, we can definitely say that the Citroen showroom location in Montreal was at 4006 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Westmount, QC H3Z 1P2.
Of course what also peaks our curiosity is the car itself. Given the value and rarity of a DS21 Concorde Coupe at that time, (it would have been the equivalent price of a Rolls Royce), one would think whoever bought it in Montreal would have had the presence of mind to keep it in nice condition. We can’t help but wonder where it is today?
Anybody got any insight into that??
Great sleuthing George!
This dealer location must be a ‘60s one. I dug into my archives for the first time in many years and found some bills from the dealer east of the Forum. I even found my original invoice for my first D (the black one). I think I may following in Mike’s retirement foot steps.
I started to shop around for my D in summer of ‘72 so I cannot say much if at all about Citroen prior to that time. The dealer I saw and dealt with (parts, expensive clutch job, etc) was called Eugene Carrie Automobile, 2107 St. Catherine St. W. They were the official dealer for Lamborghini, Fiat, and Citroen. As for Citroens, Eugene Carrie was really only interested in selling SMs and maybe a DS Pallas. He had only one Lambo (Miura) in the show room but claimed he had every color available in stock. All anyone had to do was wait a few days while he had it painted. (At least that was the story they went around at the time.) I ended buying my D Special at Comett-Auto Inc., 2619 Rosemont Blvd. dealer for Citroen and Fiat.
I am not aware of any new Chaperon built Cits sold in North America. If so, they must have been one-offs and Mike’s photo is truly special. From a distance, that is certainly a Concord in your picture. It is identifiable by the rear non-wrap around window.
Completely wonderful George! Great detective work!!
citroen was on the north side of st catherine
A Citroen dealer was on the north side of St Catherine near the old Seville theatre. They also sold Italian exotic cars, but the Citroen (company) showroom was located as stated in the article.
This is not a Chapron Concorde but a Chapron Le Leman. Best regards, Peter van Gent.
You are correct Peter, it is a Chapron Le Leman. Our mistake. The Chapron Concorde Coupe has a slightly higher and more squared off roofline in the rear. Thank you for pointing out the error. We will mention it in the body of the article as well.