DELAHAYE DANDY; 5172/148L
Chinese ink, watercolour and gouache on paper: 27 x 43 cm / 10.6 x 16.9 ins
Inscriptions 'Delahaye' lower left, 'Dandy' lower middle and '5172/148L' and 'Henri Chapron - Carrossier - 114-116 rue Aristide Briand - Levallois-Paris' lower right
French coach work builder.
Henri Chapron was born in Nouan-le-Fuzelier on December 30, 1886, and deceased in Paris on May 14, 1978. His workshop, created in 1919, was first established in Neuilly-sur-Seine, but later on in Levallois-Perret, near Paris. Chapron began his career as a saddle maker, then turned to special coach works for utilitarian vehicles like Ford T’s left in France after the First World War by the Americain forces. Thereafter, until the ’50s, he mainly worked with chassis from Delage, Delahaye (types 135 and 235), Hotchkiss and Talbot-Lago as a basis.
During these years the construction at the assembly line evolved to monocoque cars and a lot of coach work builders disappeared. Chapron, an artists pur sang, wanted to continue at all costs. In 1958, after transformations of models of Autobleu, Peugeot, Renault, Salmson and Simca, he was seduiced by the new Citroën DS with his revolutionary aerodynamic design. In the beginning he decided to modify the cars at his own cost, but afterwards, after a demand by Citroën itself, he created the drop head coupé version of the DS that would go into mass production. Some of his creations became real collector’s items, like the special models called the “La Croisette”, the “Palm Beach”, the “Le Caddy”, the “Le Léman”, the “Concorde” and the “Majesty”. Parallel and from 1954 on, Chapron realised a small series of coupés based on the Renault Fregate and the cabriolets were manufatured by Letourneur et Marchand. When the Citroën SM was introduced in 1970, Chapron created two variants: the “Mylord” and the “Opéra”.
Henri Chapron deceased on May 14, 1978, at the age of 92. His firm, taken over by his spouse in 1968, survived him a couple of years with the production of some luxurious versions of the Citroën CX and the Peugeot 604, some landaulets and some armored cars. By the end of 1985 all activities were stopped.
Nouan-le-Fuzelier 1886 - Paris 1978
D. Pagneux, "Henri Chapron - Carrossier", ETAI, 2006.
O. de Serres, "Les Citroën de Chapron", magazine 'Automomobilia', N° 10, January 2011.