Arizona | Lot 158
1967 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable by Chapron
$250,000 - $300,000 USD
€220,000 - €265,000 EUR
£185,000 - £220,000 GBP
| Phoenix, Arizona
27 January 2022
- 12% of the hammer price up to and including $250,000
- 10% of the hammer price in excess of $250,000
- A well-documented and genuine Chapron-built DS 21 Décapotable
- Formerly owned by Hollywood actor Lorne Greene
- Delightful gray-green metallic over a dark green leather interior; black convertible top
- Believed to be one of fewer than 90 DS 21 cabriolets built for 1967
From the moment it was unveiled in October 1955, the Citroën DS captured the motoring world’s imagination. Beneath its refined yet avant garde styling by Flaminio Bertoni was a host of cutting-edge technology. In particular, its self-leveling hydropneumatics suspension enabled excellent roadholding without sacrificing ride quality. Though power from the inline four-cylinder engine was modest, the transmission available at launch was novel: a four-speed, semi-automatic transmission—“Boîte de Vitesses Hydraulique”—which featured a hydraulic controller that automatically actuated the clutch as the driver flicked a lever behind the steering wheel to change gears.
One feature unavailable to DS buyers at the outset was a convertible top—though not due to lack of prospective orders. Ultimately, Citroën turned to coachbuilder Henri Chapron to create the “Décapotable Usine,” or “factory convertible,” to meet demand. No mere chop jobs, these were true cabriolets with doors four inches longer than those of the sedans, in addition to other cosmetic changes. Importantly, they also received frame reinforcements to ensure their structural integrity. These cars were sold new through Citroën dealers. In all, fewer than 1,400 factory cabriolets are believed to have been built, with less than 500 of those said to be DS 21 variants, making them rare when new and eagerly sought today.
The example offered here, a 1967 factory DS 21 Décapotable—as confirmed by a Citroën certificate of authentication—is believed to be one of fewer than 90 produced for the model year. The car is even more special for having been owned by actor and comedian Lorne Greene, known for his leading roles in the television series Bonanza and Battlestar Galactica. A California Department of Motor Vehicles registration card issued to Greene on 25 January 1986 accompanies the sale. Another document on file indicates that the car was imported to The Netherlands in the late 1990s by a Dutch dealer, who had it restored by a marque specialist, according to accompanying service invoices. Further registration documents indicate that the car remained in The Netherlands through the early 2000s, after which it was sold at auction in Paris in 2004; it apparently remained in France until 2019, after which it was imported to Chicago by a new owner.
Finished in a pleasing combination of gray-green metallic over a dark green leather interior, the car is equipped with a black soft top, headrests and armrests for the front seats, optional Jaeger instrumentation, and a Weber carburetor. The 2.2-liter inline four-cylinder engine is paired with a four-speed semi-automatic transmission. Extremely well documented, this DS 21 cabriolet amounts to a rare and compelling piece of automotive history teaming with period innovation and stellar design.