Henri Chapron (30 December 1886 - 14 May 1978) was a prominent French
automobile coachbuilder. His atelier, created in 1919, was located in
Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret.
Citroën DS Convertible
Chapron was born in
Nouan-le-Fuzelier (Sologne), and began his
career developing custom body designs for French luxury vehicles, like
Talbot, Delage, and Delahaye, in the 1920s.
France ceased building vehicles of this type in the 1950s, Chapron
switched his attention to the recently launched
Citroën DS with its
revolutionary aerodynamic design and radical hydraulic suspension. At
first Chapron purchased these vehicles and customised them as one-off
conversions. Many of these became unique convertible variants of the
DS known as the "Décapotable". All told, Chapron created 389
hand-built DS convertibles.
In 1961, the Citroën dealership network began distributing a standard
'usine' (factory) two door convertible. In the years 1961 to 1971,
1,365 of these vehicles were made - they are highly collectible today.
Chapron continued his one-off conversions as well. When the Citroën
SM was introduced in 1970, Chapron created two new variants - the
Mylord cabriolet (7 made) and the Opéra four door sedan (8 made). On
7 February 2009, a 1974 Opéra was sold by Bonhams auctioneers for EUR
USD 249,580), and on 7 February 2014 a 1975 Mylord
cabriolet was sold by Artcurial auctioneers for
In 1968, Chapron made a special extended DS Presidential model for the
government of Charles de Gaulle. Then in 1972, Chapron delivered two
SM Presidential models to the government of Georges Pompidou. These
gigantic 4 door convertibles were first used for the visit of Queen
Elizabeth II to
France and continued in use through the inauguration
Jacques Chirac in 1995.
Henri Chapron died in
Paris in 1978, and the company itself survived
for some time under the direction of his widow, Simone. Less than
five months after Chapron's own death the company presented a
Landaulet bodied conversion constructed for a rich Dutch customer, and
based on a lengthened Peugeot 604. There were hopes that this might
be the first of a small but steady trickle of similar conversions, as
had happened during the 1960s with Chapron's lengthened specials based
on the Citroën DS. That did not happen, but the company did
nevertheless continue to produce some special luxury versions, with
lavishly equipped interiors, of the Citroën CX. Operations finally
ceased in 1985.
Sources and notes
^ a b c d e f "Automobilia". Toutes les voitures françaises 1979
(salon [Paris, Oct] 1978). Paris: Histoire & collections. Nr. 84s:
Page 8. 2006.
Archived February 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
Archived April 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Henri Chapron.
Official web site
Coachbuild.com Encyclopedia: Chapron