1965 Citroën DS 21 Concorde Coupe by Chapron
$175,000 - $225,000
RM | Online Only - SHIFT/MONTEREY 14 - 15 AUGUST 2020 - Auction Closes on 14 August 2020
- One of six second series Concorde Coupes
- Restored in original colors
- Accompanied by Chapron build records
- Equipped with many desirable options
After the arrival of their revolutionary DS, Citroën was inundated with orders for this otherworldly new family saloon. As they struggled to meet demand and perfect the car’s complex mechanical systems, France’s most prestigious coachbuilder, Henri Chapron, found room for improving the already astonishing design. Despite declining demand for custom coachwork, Chapron emerged from World War II to become France’s most prestigious and prolific coachbuilders. Not coincidentally, Henri Chapron was in person at the Paris Auto Salon when the DS debuted, and he vowed to put his mark on this beautiful new automobile.
Chapron eventually convinced the works to adopt his convertible version of the DS for production, and even as construction of the official Decapotable Usine occupied much of the workshop’s time, Chapron designed several unique variants of the DS for limited production and individual clients. These included the Dandy fixed head coupe, four-seat Concorde coupe, and the Majesty limousine, all of which are coveted by today’s collectors for their quality and unmistakable signature of France’s most beloved coachbuilder.
This rare and beautiful 1965 Citroën DS 21 Concorde coupe is one of Chapron’s most elegant creations on the DS platform. This is one of approximately 35 examples built by the carrosserie, and is one of only six second series cars, distinguished by the squared-off rear wing treatment. Records from the coachbuilder’s archives show that chassis number 4350009 arrived at Chapron in October 1965, and was assigned the commission number 7550. It was completed and invoiced on 10 December 1965.
According to the documentation, Chapron built this Concorde to special order for Monsieur Jean Lavail. The build records list his business address as the prominent architectural firm CETAB – and this handsome Concorde was no doubt a fittingly sophisticated car for a successful French architect. Appropriately, the spec sheet included a host of luxury options. The high specification includes power windows, leather trim, optional Jaeger instrument cluster, Radiomatic FM radio with automatic Hirschmann antenna, Robergel wire wheels and two sets of Marchal auxiliary lamps – mounted to the bonnet and faired into the lower front apron. The handsome Midnight Blue and Shell Gray livery it wears today is the original color scheme as specified on the build sheet. All-in, Mr. Lavail’s invoice totaled nearly FF 41,000, which would have been the equivalent of over $8,000 US Dollars, or about the cost of a contemporary Cadillac Series 75 Limousine.
While it is not clear how long Monsieur Lavail owned the Concorde, it appears it spent the majority of its life in France, with French registration papers showing it changed hands in 1985. The next owner, a professional Citroën mechanic gradually refurbished it, treating it to a light restoration in 2000, though specific records do not exist. For the next 33 years, the owner enjoyed and cared for his unique Citroën, maintaining it and using it regularly on the road.
Today, this beautiful and rare DS 21 Concorde benefits from a recent cosmetic freshening. It is offered in the original colors of Midnight Blue with a Shell Gray roof, a livery that highlights the crisp and elegant Henri Chapron design. The bespoke exterior trim was recently polished and detailed and the correct original Robergel wheels were fitted with the proper staggered-size Michelin XAS radials as original. The four-seat cabin is the epitome of 1960s French luxury, with leather-trimmed seats, plush carpeting and an appealing character earned through gentle use on the road.
Henri Chapron stands proudly among the greatest coachbuilders in France. From his pen came some of the most beautiful and distinct motorcars ever created, and his work showed brilliantly even as custom coachbuilding was on the decline. The crisp and elegant DS Concorde is one his best interpretations of Citroën’s Déesse, with a form that was equally at home in the heart of the Champs-Élysées or cruising the French Riviera. This striking DS represents the coming together of two legends of French avant-garde design, and is ready for continued enjoyment in the hands of its next enthusiastic caretaker.
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