1973 Citroën DS23 IE Cabriolet

Citroën wouldn’t sell Chapron any separate chassis, so he was reduced to buying complete cars and dismantling them

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The Citroёn DS19 was launched on an unsuspecting world in 1955 and continued to be France’s car of choice well into the 1970s.
There were many interpretations of the theme, but one of the most appealing came from the workshops of established coachbuilder Henri Chapron, the “La Croisette Cabriolet.”
At first produced without Citroёn’s approval, demand soon persuaded the company of the convertible’s appeal and from 1960, “Le Caddy Decapotable” became available through Citroёn dealers.
Refining the individuality and composure of the original car’s lines, the popularity of the convertible never waned. Indeed, as is proven here, Citroёn was still receiving orders for the Decapotable long after official production ceased in 1971.
The convertibles had been based on the underpinnings of the top of the range since the introduction of the DS21 in 1965, so it follows that the late examples were equipped with the fuel-injected 2.3-liter engine good for 141 hp and almost 120 mph. The cars were fitted out to the highest standards of comfort and luxury.
In production for more than 20 years, no car has catered more effectively to such a broad cross section of society. Used by everyone from the lowest cabbie to the President himself, the DS is an iconic legend and the Decapotable ranks among its most sought-after variants.
Christie’s understands this to be the only DS23 IE convertible built, and one of only four convertibles built between 1973 and 1978. It was originally ordered by eminent Parisian Raoul D’Iray in 1973 (letters between Henri Chapron and him accompany the car), in whose ownership it remained for a decade. It then passed to Mr. Van Houten, where it also remained for a decade before passing to Mr. Jaap Knap, a Citroёn dealer who kept it until last year.
We are told that apart from a respray in 1985, the Citroën DS23 IE Cabriolet is completely original and in superb condition. With 100,000 kilometers on the odometer, the paint is said to be very good, the bodywork is described as exceptional, and the interior and top are totally original and perfect. The car enjoys a history file that stretches back to its delivery and includes original invoices and all service records.

Paul Duchene

Paul Duchene - SCM Contributor

Paul grew up in England and has been riding, driving (and mostly writing about) cars and motorcycles since 1958, when he bought a 1939 James Autocycle for $5. He’s written for daily newspapers and magazines for 40 years, including the Chicago Tribune and New York Times, and has owned upwards of 200 cars and 30 motorcycles, most of which survived to be sold. His daily driver is a 1984 Cadillac Seville in Palomino Firemist, but on sunny days you’ll find him grinning over the windshield of a 1968 Siata Spring.

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