It is no coincidence that Citroen’s most brilliant design is called the DS. It so happens that the French word for Goddess is Déesse, pronounced the same way as the car. The clever word play was more than just a marketing ploy; it was a fitting name for a car the likes of which had never been seen before. By the early 1950’s, the Citroen Traction Avant was showing its pre-war roots and was due for a replacement after nearly 20 years of production. Typically for Citroen, a simple evolution of the Traction Avant was not to be. Instead, a revolutionary new car was developed and a stunning space-age body was designed by Flaminio Bertoni and André Lefèbvre; an Italian sculptor and French aeronautical engineer, respectively. Citroen attempted to redefine the limits of automobile design with their flamboyant new car. Amazingly, the DS was not a limited production showcase reserved for the super-rich. This was a car for the middle class, a mid-sized sedan with a humble four-cylinder engine and seating for up to six in unprecedented comfort. Under the space-ship skin was a thoroughly modern, highly sophisticated chassis. The independent suspension was sprung by an advanced hydro-pneumatic system that was self-leveling and adjustable for ride height. Inboard front brakes reduced unsprung weight and the DS was the first car to feature power front disc brakes as standard. High-pressure hydraulics controlled braking, steering, and the semi-automatic transmission. The unique tapering wheel track reduced understeer; a common issue for front-wheel drive cars. The DS and its down-market ID sibling remained in production for twenty years. Over 1.5 Million were built in an array of bodies – sedan, coupe, wagon, and highly desirable convertible models. In 2005, the DS was named the most beautiful car ever built by a panel of world renowned designers that included Paul Braq and Giorgetto Giugiaro.
Perhaps the only way to make a DS sedan even more beautiful is to remove the roof. Parisian coachbuilder Henri Chapron began doing just that soon after the DS was unveiled; using cars he purchased then converted and sold individually. Citroen quickly took notice and commissioned Chapron to build a run of factory-sanctioned convertibles, of which 1,365 were produced. Henri Chapron’s cars are highly prized for their rarity, stunning avant-garde style and exceptional quality.
This 1973 DSuper5 Convertible is believed to have been converted in France sometime after production of factory sanctioned cars had ended. This example is up to similarly exacting standards of quality and beauty as the original Chapron cars. It is quite simply a stunning and exceptionally well-built automobile. The signature sweeping surfaces of the DS body are beautifully straight and panel fit is excellent. An exquisite metallic gold paint color was chosen which perfectly suits the space age design. Taupe buffalo leather was painstakingly selected to reupholster the interior and it is a splendid match for the paintwork. Brown canvas used for the convertible top rounds out the package, resulting in a truly stunning automobile. Chrome trim and details are up to the standard of the rest of the car, appearing in nearly new condition. Correct wheels with unadorned hubcaps are wrapped with period correct radial tires, ensuring just the right look on the road. The DSuper5 had the large engine of the DS21 but was equipped with a traditional 5-speed manual transmission and conventional brakes; making this an ideal driver, particularly for those not accustomed to the unique characteristics of the DS. The 2.1 liter engine has been meticulously maintained and the performance is excellent. Under the hood is tidy and presentable, though not detailed to concours levels. For the occasions when it is too hot to put the top down, an air conditioning system with a modern rotary compressor will keep you cool. All hydraulic features function as they should and the specialized system has been expertly maintained. As this is an originally a European market car, it is fitted with the desirable glass-covered headlamps with swiveling driving lamps.
Fresh from a large and eclectic collection that included several Citroens; this DSuper5 has been restored and maintained to be enjoyed to the fullest. With such a beautiful restoration, it would be at home on a show field, but it would be best enjoyed out on the road, touring in supreme style.