Monday, March 2, 2015

Citroën DS Le Caddy Convertible by Chapron (1959-68)

One of the most stylish cars in the 1960s, was the work of the famous Parisian coachbuilder Henri Chapron who baptized his first convertible model the Citroën DS La Croisette in 1958. The convertible version of the Citroën DS was at first not approved by Citroën, forcing Chapron to buy complete cars rather than bare chassis. Public demand was so great that Citroën eventually asked Chapron to build a cabriolet. The result was the Usine Cabriolet (Factory Cabriolet) which was sold via the dealer network.

Throughout the 1960s, Chapron continued to build his own versions of DS convertibles: the 2+2-seater Le Caddy and the 4-seater Palm Beach (distinguished by an extra pair of second quarter windows), as well as several limousines and cut variants. While the factory cabriolets were uniform in their finishing and trim, the Chapron custom coupes and cabriolets, on the other hand, were frequently finished to the customer's taste. Wooden dashboards, different wheel covers, several levels of outside trim and even bullet proof glass were offered as options.

After La Croisette, the second version of DS Convertible by Chapron was Le Caddy. It was unveiled in 1959 and was a net improvement on La Croisette. While La Croisette used the rear wings of the 4-door sedan, requiring a chrome strip to hide the joint between the wing and the panel added behind the door, Le Caddy used a wing in one piece, much more elegant. The front doors of the saloon were used until 1960 when longer doors were adopted, further improving the proportions. The rear wings were redesigned in 1965. An optional hard top was available. 

Le Dandy (1960-1968; 49 copies) was the coupe version of the 2 + 2-seater convertible Le Caddy.

The Chapron D-series (ID and DS) models were mechanically identical to the run-of-the-mill D sedans. Powered by 1,911 cc, 1,985 cc or 2,175 cc in-line 4 engines. All technical innovations such as the turning headlights, LHM hydraulics and five-main bearing engine, were incorporated into the Chapron cars.

Only 34 copies of Le Caddy convertible were built between 1959 and 1968. Needless to say they are in high demand. (, &

1959-1965 models

(Above) Henri Chapron poses in front of a Citroën DS Convertible Le Caddy at the Grand Palais.

1965-68 models 

With redesigned rear wings.

(Photos from,,, &

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