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Coachwork by Chapron
Original Owner, France (first registered in 1962)Unknown Owner, Paris, FranceTheodorus van der Laan, Netherlands (acquired from the above in 1983)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Since the late 1920s, the name Henri Chapron had been synonymous with the very highest quality in coachbuilt bodies, combining impeccably good taste with style and execution. But as the grand marques disappeared in the inimical postwar economic climate, one by one, Chapron’s great and famous colleagues fell by the wayside as they were unable to adapt to a changing world. Chapron knew that for his company to survive, a new and modern platform had to be found on which something upscale and chic could be designed.
At the 1955 Paris salon, Citroën launched the DS19, a relative spaceship of an automobile with a revolutionary aerodynamic design and radical hydraulic suspension. It was the car of the future and, in 1958, Chapron created a DS19 convertible called La Croisette. In spite of being both expensive and exclusive, some 390 Chapron convertibles and coupes were built over the next three years. All were supremely fashionable and built to customer order, and not to be confused with the later and much more common, semi-mass-produced cabriolet d’usine models. Various coupe rooflines of great beauty were developed for the hand-built cars, and named Le Paris, Le Leman, Concorde, or Le Dandy. It is believed that approximately 50 Citroën Le Dandy examples were built across a seven-year period, and these coachbuilt Citroëns are distinguishable for their enticing proportions, exquisite interiors, and elegant chrome accents. Today, genuine Citroën coupes by Chapron, such as chassis 3242901 offered here, are highly sought by collectors for their stylish and refined lines.
According to Citroën expert Wils Niewhof, this exquisite Le Dandy Coupe is believed to be one of just two using the ID19 chassis and only 12 cars clothed in this particular body style. The decision to base this specific car on the ID19, instead of the more opulently appointed DS19 was presumably made to offer its original owner a standard manual gearbox. The result is likely the prettiest of all Le Dandys, combining the early low tail and windscreen proportions with the ID-style dash and large white steering wheel that was fitted to cars equipped with manual steering.
Sold new to an unknown buyer in France, the Citroën was imported to the Netherlands in 1983 by Theodorus van der Laan. The consignor, a connoisseur of coachbuilt automobiles, purchased the Citroën from van der Laan due to its fine condition and then commissioned a beautiful restoration from one of France’s foremost Citroën specialists, DS Sensation. As documented by invoices on file, each of the Citroën’s systems were attended to, and the Le Dandy was refinished in red with a black roof, believed by the consignor to be its original colors. As such, this incredibly stylish midcentury masterpiece is ready to participate in any high-class concours and driving event that its new owner may care to enter.