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This Citroen DS 21 Décapotable by Chapron Is a Feast for the Eyes

Lovers of French cars are sure to recognize and appreciate the Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron, especially when it's one of a limited run of just 165 examples.
1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron 19 photos
Photo: Rmsothebys.com
1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron
The Décapotable is the most sought-after variant of the iconic Citroen DS. The car is shown in truly superb condition following its restoration. In 1955, when Citroen introduced the DS, the model was considered futuristic in both design and engineering. The DS was like nothing else before it, it was simply unique. Conditions were favorable for coachbuilder Henri Chapron at a time when pre-war French coachbuilding brands were facing financial problems.

After Chapron's cabriolet proved to be a sensation in 1958, the talented coachbuilder was approached by Citroen to create a production version, with the first unit leaving his workshops in October 1960.

The vehicle you see in the gallery (chassis series 4350064, for those interested in figures), was delivered to the coachbuilder on October 11, 1965, with order number 8910. The car was subsequently registered in France in December. This DS received a complete overhaul in October 2020. A further restoration was carried out in November 2022.

Being from the 1966 model year, the car retains the characteristic open headlights of the early variant, and the interior features the Jaeger dashboard. The car comes in the original "Royal Blue" color, and under the hood is the 109 hp (111 ps) 2,175 cc engine that has only covered a mere 331 km (around 206 miles). Quite a garage queen we've got here, don't we?

The Citroen DS was a real sensation at the 1955 Paris Motor Show, revolutionizing the automotive world. Apart from the engine, DS was innovative in almost every area: high-pressure brakes, fully hydraulic suspension, power steering, etc.

The famous hydraulic suspension, which gave the impression that passengers were traveling in a boat, offered comfort incomparable to what was available to competitors at the time. Its very special body design was the work of the company's stylist, the exceptional Flaminio Bertoni, who also designed the 2CV. The DS became timeless and never really turned obsolete.

Citroen DS 21 Décapotable by Chapron was one of the most elegant cars of the 1960s

1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron
Photo: Rmsothebys.com


Incorporating all the technical innovations of the saloon, no European convertible will match the beauty and comfort of the DS for many years to come, the superiority of Citroen's hydro-pneumatic suspension, ahead of its time, proven by its use well into the 21st century. In total, only 1,365 factory convertibles were built based on the DS 19 and DS 21 models between 1960 and 1971.

This two-door convertible was one of the most elegant cars of the 1960s and remained unrivaled for many years.

Collectors are flocking to own this classic car, and prices on the auction market are steadily rising. It's difficult to find a used DS even in France. However, there are sellers and dealers located in other European countries.

Since the 1980s, the DS has become a cinema screen celebrity. The Citroën DS has been the star of many films that have made cinema history. The list includes 1983's Scarface, directed by Brian de Palma. Al Pacino and his teammates place a bomb under a DS to assassinate an unwanted witness. In 1997, DS made a comeback with the film "Gattaca," directed by Andrew Niccol. Uma Thurman playing Irene drives a green DS convertible with an electric motor.

In 2005, DS celebrated its 50th anniversary, and 1,600 DS cars from all over Europe paraded through Paris.

The worst period for the DS, after which it was also taken out of production, was between 1970 and 1974. After fifteen years in production, the DS no longer enjoyed the popularity of its early days, and sales gradually declined. Its cramped interior and parts began to look increasingly old-fashioned. After producing 300,000 DSs, the French brand decided to end production in 1974 and replace it with a new model: the Citroen CX.

However, DS was reborn as a standalone brand in 2015 and the two letters show up on some modern models today. The DS 3, DS 4, DS 7, or DS 9 try to carry on the name but sales figures prove that they don't enjoy the popularity of the brand's former glory.

DS Automobiles is one of the car manufacturers that have taken electrification very seriously. Last year, the French launched the DS E-Tense Performance electric concept. It is equipped with two motors and has an output of 600 kW - 815 ps (804 hp). Furthermore, the current range includes the electric DS 3 E-Tense.

But back to good ol' Citroen DS 21 we go. And this one is going under the hammer with RM Sotheby's on February 1, 2023. For those who are passionate about French exclusive cars and want to know what prices to expect, we should mention that in 2021, an example similar to the one we have here was sold for €230,000 (about $244,000).

1965 Citroën DS 21 Décapotable By Chapron
Photo: Rmsothebys.com
And while we're on the subject of record sums, we should also mention that another DS was sold in 2009 for a considerable amount. It was a Citroen DS 23 IE, also designed by Henri Chapon. It fetched €344,850 (about $366,074), a price that makes it the most expensive DS ever sold.
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About the author: Marius Visan
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Marius grew up in a family of truck drivers, so the love for cars and anything with an engine came naturally. After getting his journalism degree and an M.D. in Multimedia and Audio/Video Production he went right into covering the automotive industry for a news agency and a print magazine.
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