Current ownership since 1968 1966 Citroën DS21 Décapotable Coachwork by Henri Chapron Registration no. HAA 89D Chassis no. 4460056 Engine no. 0572006063
Just as it had done 21 years previously with the revolutionary 'Traction Avant', Citroën stunned the world again in 1955 with the launch of the strikingly styled 'DS'. Beneath the shark-like newcomer's aerodynamically efficient, low-drag bodyshell there was all-independent, self-levelling, hydro-pneumatic suspension; plus power-operated brakes, clutch and steering. No European car would match the DS's ride quality for several years, the fundamental soundness of Citroën's ahead-of-its-time hydro-pneumatic suspension being demonstrated by its survival in present-day top-of-the-range models. The DS's original 1,911cc, overhead-valve, long-stroke engine was replaced in 1966 by a short-stroke 1,985cc unit, also available in 2,175cc and 2,347cc versions, while other DS developments included swivelling headlights, fuel injection and a five-speed gearbox. Other models offered alongside the original DS were the ID (a simplified, cheaper version), the cavernous Safari estate and the two-door Décapotable (convertible), the latter boasting coachwork by Henri Chapron. (Chapron's first convertibles had been produced independently of Citroën, but the factory eventually gave the project its blessing). Henri Chapron started his career in the motor industry as an upholsterer's apprentice, working for various coachbuilders in the Paris area. In 1919 he started his own business in the well-to-do Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine where his main activity was re-bodying cars that had been requisitioned in wartime by the French Government. Chapron moved to larger premises in Levallois-Perret in 1923 and became the official builder of coach and convertible models for Delage and Delahaye, going on to body many of the most elegant French and European automobiles of the inter-war period. Despite a much-reduced demand for bespoke coachwork after WW2, Chapron survived thanks to his exemplary creations for Delahaye, Talbot and Salmson, switching to offering bespoke versions of unitary construction models when motor manufacturers began to abandon the traditional separate chassis frame. The arrival of the Citroën DS in 1955 presented Chapron with a fresh opportunity that would result in his name being forever linked with this remarkable car. Citroën's own Décapotables were built on the longer, stronger chassis of the ID Break (Estate) but the model was never produced in England, where Citroën's right-hand drive cars were assembled at its Slough factory up to 1966. In total, 1,365 usine (factory) convertibles were made with either the DS19 or DS21 engine between 1960 and 1971, while Chapron built a further 389 of his own, the last in 1973. One of only 50-or-so right-hand drive examples delivered to the UK between 1962 and 1966, this Citroën DS Décapotable was first registered on 22nd June 1966 to a Mr Dowman of New Milton, Hampshire. It was one of only six Décapotables imported into the UK in '66, which was the last year of UK sales for the right-hand drive version. Joe Judt, the current (second) owner, bought 'HAA 89D' in December 1968, by which time it had covered 26,000 miles. Joe has been an active member of the Citroën Car Club since the 1950s, has served as its Chairman and is now the Club's honorary President. Well known in the UK and abroad, Joe's Décapotable is featured in many English language books on the history of Citroën cars. Kept roadworthy, the DS has been in continual use throughout Joe's ownership, including a journey through the Middle East and many tours across Europe, and has now covered an amazing 380,000 miles from new! While in Joe's ownership the DS had been regularly serviced and maintained by marque specialist Chris Burton of Kingsley, Hampshire. As the car was a daily driver, Joe decided to fit a five-speed gearbox, which had become a factory option in 1969 for the saloon. The replacement gearbox was fitted in the late 1980s, the engine being changed at the same time. As one would expect with this mileage, the car has been re-chassised and no longer sports it's origional engine. Now in his early nineties, Joe has reluctantly decided to pass this remarkable car on to a new owner in order to ensure its continued use and enjoyment. Finished in gold with black leather interior, 'HAA 89D' is offered for sale with its original tool kit, original logbook, MoT to June 2012, Swansea V5 document and a considerable history file.