Lot 229: 1963 Citroen DS19 Decapotable by Chapron
After 18 years of development in secret as the successor to the venerable Traction Avant, the DS 19 was introduced on October 5, 1955 at the Paris Motor Show. The car's appearance and innovative engineering captured the imagination of the public and the automobile industry almost overnight. 743 orders were taken in the first 15 minutes of the show and orders for the first day totalled 12,000. Far from being just a fascinating technology in search of a purpose, contemporary journalists were effusive in noting how the DS dramatically pushed the envelope in the ride vs. handling compromise possible in a motor vehicle. A fibreglass roof reduced weight transfer. Inboard front brakes (as well as an independent suspension) reduced unsprung weight. Different front and rear track widths and tire sizes reduced the understeer typical of front-engined and front-wheel drive cars. Despite the rather leisurely acceleration afforded by its small four-cylinder engine, the DS was successful in motorsports like rallying, where sustained speeds on poor surfaces are paramount. The DS came in third in the 1999 Car of the Century competition, recognizing the world's most influential auto designs. Winner and second place went to the Ford Model T and the Mini. It placed fifth on Automobile Magazine "100 Coolest Cars" listing in 2005. The rare 'decapotable' or decapitated version was the rarest and most collectible of all DS variants, a convertible was offered from 1958 until 1973. The convertibles were built in small series by French carrossier Henri Chapron, for the Citron factory. In addition, Chapron also produced a few coupés, non-works convertibles and special sedans.Presented here is a wonderful example of the rare factory constructed convertible originally imported from Naples in Italy by specialists Classics and Cabriolets in 2004. It has a believed 2 Italian owners from new, the last of which has had it for over 30 years and has been exceptionally well maintained and upgraded throughout that time. Amongst the remedial work undertaken was a replacement radiator, a suspension rebuild, new brakes and tyres. A brand new mohair hood was fitted some 18 months ago along with period spot lights and original Chapron wireless centre stage. Invoices totalling approximately £10,000 details works done in recent years. With similar cars selling for over £90,000 on the continent, this must represent affordable access to the rarified club that this car represents.
Coys, The Royal Horticultural Halls, London SW1
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