With a declining market for his coach building skills on supplied bare chassis Parisian Coach Builder Henri Chapron turned his attention to tailoring existing bodies for his demanding clientele starting with converting saloon / sedan Citroën DS19’s into two door La Croisette Décompatable convertibles and later two door La Paris Coupés in 1958.
Until 1959 his DS 19 conversions were built without the approval of Citroën and Chapron had to buy entire cars and convert them, using a vertical chrome strip to hide the join between the rear door panel and the rear wing panel.
From 1960 the La Croisette, named after the exclusive Cannes boulevard, was built with a single rear panel from the rear to the door, first seen on the Chapron Le Caddy Convertible in 1959.
From 1961 Citroén commissioned Chapron to build the DS19 Usine (factory) Convertible’s to order for distribution through their dealer network from, the Usine was based on Flaminio Bertoni’s drawings.
Building La Croisette, Le Caddy and factory Usine Convertibles at the same time proved unsustainable and the La Croisette model was dropped afer 52 examples had been built in 1962, the Le Caddy lasted until 1968 with 34 examples built while the Usine production survived in ID/DS19 and later DS21 form until 1971 with 1325 examples built.
Curiously despite clearly having a post 1960 single piece rear wing with no pre 1960 vertical chrome strip covering the join between the rear door and rear wing today’s featured car was shown at Goodwood with a label advising us it is a 1958 car.
Thanks for joining me on this “Cannes Boulevard Convertible” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting a Volksfest for the first time. Don’t forget to come back now !
When Citroën put their minds to replacing the Traction Avant which had been in production since 1934 they wanted a car that would be equally revolutionary and innovative setting new standards in style, comfort and safety.
Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni and the French aeronautical engineer André Lefèbvre took care of the styling and engineering while Paul Magès took care of the hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension that could be adjusted to ride height.
Additionally the DS featured a single spoke steering wheel, lightweight fiber glass roof to keep the center of gravity down, semi automatic transmission requiring no clutch and was the first mass production car to be fitted with disc brakes.
It was originally intended to scale up the aircooled flat 2 cylinder 2CV motor into a flat six motor for the DS, but when the development costs could no longer be met the 1,911 cc (116.6 cu in) in line four from the Traction Avant was upgraded with an aluminium hemi cylinder head that bumped the horsepower up from 60hp to 75 hp and mounted behind the gearbox which drives the front wheels.
The DS pronounced “Déesse” in French double meaning “goddess” was received with tremendous enthusiasm, which translated into 12,000 orders on the 5th of October 1955 the day it was launched at the Paris Motor Show and was described by structuralist philosopher Roland Barthes as looking as thought it had “fallen from the sky”.
The DS19 seen above at Goodwood Festival of Speed was built in 1957.
Thanks for joining me on this “Déesse Of The Sky” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Goodwood Festival of Speed. Don’t forget to come back now !