Rare Rides: A Stunning 1962 Citron ID19, Le Dandy

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Our most recently featured Citroën was a BX five-door hatchback, which made its way to Maine on a plane from Spain. But perhaps, as some readers indicated in the comments, it wasn’t Citroën enough given its development on a platform also used for Peugeot vehicles.

Maybe this more pure French beauty will satisfy: An ID19 Le Dandy coupe, from 1962.

By the Fifties, Citroën needed a replacement vehicle for their groundbreaking front-drive flagship sedan, the Traction Avant. Wanting to get their new car just right, the company spent 18 years developing the new car in secret. By late 1955 it was ready, and the new DS entered production.

The aerodynamic shape of the DS was penned by the same man who worked on the Traction Avant, Italian sculptor-designer Flaminio Bertoni. With its emphasis on technology and sexy shape, the DS was instantly popular. But there was a problem: cost.

The most basic DS19 model was 65 percent more expensive than the Traction Avant, which had a negative effect on sales in a country still rebuilding from World War II. Citroën had to take the DS downmarket, so the ID range was developed. Though the body was the same as the DS, ID models had fewer luxuries inside, and less powerful engines than DS brethren. The same 1.9-liter engine which produced 69 horsepower in the ID made 75 horses in the DS. ID customers did without things like power steering and the automated-manual transmission, and settled for a standard manual with clutch. The basic “Normale” (for normies) trim was 25 percent cheaper than the cheapest DS. That’s where today’s coupe comes in.

Citroën wanted convertible versions of the DS by the late Fifties. The design work was handed out to French coachbuilder Henri Chapron, who created a convertible called La Croisette in 1958. With a reinforced frame and a two-door body, the DS cabriolet was not very affordable. La Croisette was the basis for 390 specially-built coupe and convertible DS cars, made in the late Fifties and Sixties. Cars were largely custom order, and were called Concorde, Le Leman, Le Paris, or Le Dandy. The names were used to signify the various rooflines of coupe and convertible Chapron DSs. Boutique production of the modified DS turned into official factory production later. Though factory versions were still made by Chapron, all were convertibles. Around 1,365 factory convertibles were produced.

The Le Dandy is considerably more rare, with an estimated 50 total examples completed over a seven-year run. Rarer still is the car selected as donor — an ID19. The wealthy original buyer ordered a Le Dandy built on the more basic ID sedan, presumably for driving enjoyment via the four-speed manual.

There’s an easy case for another DS write-up, but the successful sedan will never reach the rarity of this Chapron-built coupe. It’ll be on auction at Pebble Beach on August 16th, and is expected to fetch $300,000.

[Images: seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Aug 04, 2019

    It's pretty but looks like a slightly tweaked early 50s Muntz Jet

    • -Nate -Nate on Aug 04, 2019

      Very much so, better looking than a Muntz IMO . -Nate

  • SPPPP SPPPP on Aug 14, 2019

    Amazing how this car manages to look ... slender. Few cars do that today, I think.

  • Ajla There is inventory on the ground but as pointed out it is generally high dollar trims of high-dollar models and at least around here dealers still aren't budging off their mandatory nitrogen tires and Summer weather protection packages.You aren't paying '21-'22 prices anymore but it's still a long way to go.
  • Slavuta Every electric car must come with a film about lithium mining
  • Sobhuza Trooper Drop a good, high-strung German engine in this and you'd have American flair with German repair costs!
  • Kwik_Shift I'll just drive my Frontier into the ground as planned. Possibly find an older "fun" car to collect.
  • Lorenzo The solution is so simple: if the driver shifts into neutral without applying the parking brake, the horn sounds and lights flash until the parking brake is applied. After the third time, the driver should be insulted by a voice saying, "Shouldn't your wife be driving?", or "Where did you get your license - Dollar Store?"
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