Henri Chapron

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Henri Chapron (30 December 1886 - 14 May 1978) was a prominent French automobile coachbuilder. His atelier, created in 1919, was located in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret.

Citroën DS Convertible

Chapron was born in Nouan-le-Fuzelier (Sologne),[1] and began his career developing custom body designs for French luxury vehicles, like Talbot, Delage, and Delahaye, in the 1920s.

As France ceased building vehicles of this type in the 1950s, Chapron switched his attention to the recently launched Citroën DS. At first, Chapron purchased these vehicles and customised them as one-offsions. Many of these became unique convertible variants, known as the "Décapotable". All told, he built 389 DS convertibles.

In 1968, Chapron made a special extended DS Presidential model for the government of Charles de Gaulle. 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 of 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.[1] Less than five months after Chapron's own death the company presented a Landaulet bodied conversion constructed for a rich Dutch customer, based on a lengthened Peugeot 604.[1] There were hopes this might lead to a low but steady production of similar conversions, as had happened during with Chapron's lengthened specials based on the Citroën DS.[1] That did not happen, but the company did produce some special luxury versions, with lavishly equipped interiors, of the Citroën CX.[1] Operations finally ceased in 1985.[1]

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Sources and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Automobilia". Toutes les voitures françaises 1979 (salon [Paris, Oct] 1978). Paris: Histoire & collections. Nr. 84s: Page 8. 2006. 

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