Words & photos - Daniel Bevis
Henri Chapron was a prolific Citroën fiddler, his coachbuilt DS variants in particular being widely celebrated for their elegance and attention to detail. His 'Décapotable' soft-top conversions, of which the Chapron atelier hand-built 389, were so coveted that Citroën started producing their own 'usine' (i.e. 'factory') convertibles, with around 1,365 being sold. They're all very sought-after today, and command eye-watering sums.
Chapron wasn't just keen on slicing the roofs of DSs and affixing custom rag-tops though - he worked on four-door SMs, 'Presidential' limousines based on DSs and SMs... and there was this, the 'Le Paris' coupé. This little poppet built on the jewel-like splendour of the original Chapron DS cabriolets, the 'La Croisette' models (complete with tell-tale vertical chrome strip to cover the join where the rear door shut would be), and reimagined the concept as a dashing hardtop coupé. This particular one sports the mechanicals from the DS 19, which means a 1,911cc engine carried over from the Traction Avant, as well as having the gearbox mounted ahead of the engine with the diff in between, effectively making it front-mid-engined. Chapron built just nine of these, and this is one of only three that remain. Sensational, isn't it?
You can learn more about the various Chapron DSs here.
Spotted at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed - more photos here.