Much has been written about the Citroën DS over the past 60+ years. This model of the upper middle class made its debut as a sensation at the 1955 Paris Motor Show and inherited the Traction Avant. According to the factory, more than 12,000 orders were received on the first day of the show alone. A total of more than 1.4 million units rolled off the assembly lines in 20 years of production. In addition to the classic sedan, Citroën also offered a station wagon variant, which was offered as ‘Break’, ‘Familiale’ and ‘Commerciale’. From 1960, the ‘Decapotable Usine’ convertible was also included in the model range, which was based on sketches by DS designer Flaminio Bertoni and manufactured by coachbuilder Henri Chapron in Paris. Chapron, however, was apparently not working at full capacity with this factory order and, in addition, offered five further different convertible offshoots as well as four different coupé models and some representative limousine versions, for example for French President Charles de Gaulle. Today, Chapron’s creations are in great demand among car collectors and fetch high prices at auctions.
Hyman Ltd. is currently offering such a vehicle for sale in the USA. It is a Citroën DS with a four-seater coupé body, which Henri Chapron named ‘Concorde’. While nowadays many people think of the legendary supersonic airplane when they hear this name, this didn’t exist at the time when this vehicle was produced. Translated from French, the term means as much as ‘unity’ and has therefore already denoted several achievements in the course of history. The coupé built by Chapron is a classic two-door car, whose rear body as well as the roof part is clearly different from the normal DS sedans. While normal coupés often have longer doors compared to the four-door offshoots, the DS Concorde shows the normal sedan front doors and behind them a lot of sheet metal up to the relatively steep rear end. The roof is almost horizontal and ends in an almost upright rear window, giving the rear passengers plenty of headroom. Only 35 cars came off the assembly line, six of them in a second series with steeper tail fins. The DS offered by Hyman Ltd. also belongs to these six vehicles.
Chassis number 4.350.009, the car offered by Hyman Ltd., reached the workshops of Henri Chapron in October 1965 as a bare DS21 chassis with partial superstructure and received the additional body number 7550. On 10 December of the same year, the conversion to the Concorde Coupé was completed. According to the production books, this car was built to order of a Monsieur Jean Lavail, who, according to the address given, was employed as an architect by the well-known company CETAB. In addition to the exceptional body in bicolor paint ‘Midnight Blue’ and ‘Shell Grey’ Monsieur Lavail ordered electric windows, additional Jaeger instruments, beige leather upholstery, a Radiomatic FM radio with automatic Hirschmann antenna, additional fog lights under the front bumper and Robergel spoke rims with Michelin XAS radial tires. The total cost of the car was 41,000 Francs, which would have been about US$ 8,000 at the time. For comparison: a brand new Cadillac DeVille was just US$ 6,000 back then.
Unfortunately it is not known how long Monsieur Lavail kept the DS. The coupé with its hydropneumatic suspension remained in France until the 2010s. In 1985 the last previous owner bought the car in a generally good condition but at that time it wasn’t in running order and not roadworthy. He carried out a careful restoration with mechanical overhaul and enjoyed the exceptional driving comfort in the followeing 33 years. Last he had some work done on the car in the year 2000. Today it presents itself with minimal patina outside and inside fully ready to drive in the inventory of Hyman Ltd., who asks US$ 189,500 for it.
Images: Hyman Ltd.