Japan
Page creation 18/07/2013, revision 23/02/2014
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In Japan every self-respecting DS amateur has
heard about the only cabriolet DS imported by
the official agent, in 1968. It appeared in car
magazines a few times, but its owner has
remained secretive ever since, and nobody
knew what had become of the car. That is, until
we finally found it.
The convertible cabriolet, a very rare
and exclusive version of the DS, whose
assembly was subcontracted by Citroen to
bodymaker Chapron, appeared for the first
time in Japan when the brand's agent
Nichifutsu Jidosha imported one and
displayed it during the Tokyo Motor Show,
in November 1968 (right, Car Graphic,
January 1969). It was featured at length a
few years later, in April 1974, again in Car
Graphic (below).
It made a last appearance ,
again in Car Graphic, in June
1985 (below). The original
articles can be downloaded
by clicking on these pdf
icons:

Jan 69       Apr 74       Jun 85
In May 2013, with the precious help of
fellow DS hunters in Nagoya, I could locate
it at last, and we were allowed by the owner
to take photos, on the only but strict
condition that he remains anonymous.
Many thanks to Kataoka-san of Watanabe Jidosha, and to
Sugiyama-san and David Smith for the photos.
Above left: only the hood has been changed. All the rest is original. Above right: the two "Toyopet Crown"-type fender
mirrors, made compulsory by the regulation of the time, were fixed onto the cars by the dealer. We can also notice the
presence of a retractable radio antenna.
Below left: nothing has been modified on the engine. Below right: the two extra orange winker lighs on the rear were
also fixed by the dealer for local regulation reasons.
The car, a hydraulic 1968 DS21, almost in its original condition with the notable exception
of the hood which has been changed once, is in a stunningly beautiful condition. The body
paint (AC421, Bordeaux) is the original one; we are told that the car was simply never
used on rainy days. The interior in beige leather is also exactly as it was in 1968. Part of
a 10+ collection of luxury cars, it was seldom used, and then mostly by the owner's wife,
and by their son, up to the turn of the century. It has been kept in a discreet garage since
then.  Useless to say how we felt privileged to be able to see such a jewel of a car, still in
the same family since that fateful day in 1969 when they bought it.  
Above and top left: the beige leather is not exactly brand-new, but it is the original one. You can notice the plastic
sheet on the step, which has never been removed ! I do not think we can find many other cabriolet DS in such a
clean, original condition around the world today.
Below right: a board, which may have been used during an exposition of some sort, explains how unique the car is in
Japan.
The car now belongs to the
elder son (standing left on this
photo), who does not want to
give his name but accepted to
be on the photo.  Following our
visit, he seemed to realize the
value of the car, and decided on
the spot to have it restored back
in running condition, by
Watanabe Jidosha of course,  
and to use it again. He does not
have the slightest intention to
sell it. Good ! We can look
forward to see that beautiful and
historical car on Japan's roads
again.
It appears that Watanabe Jidosha, the
sub-agent for the Nagoya region, home to
many Citroen amateurs, tried to sell this
convertible to one of their rich customers,
who already owned a DS. But he said no,
and Watanabe Jifdosha spent another 6
months trying to sell the car. Eventually they
visited that customer again, and insisted on
him buying the car, which was worth twice
the value of a normal DS21, already an
expensive car. The customer finally gave in,
and owned the car ever since.
Update ! (Fev 2014) In November 2013, the car entered Watanabe Jidosha's garage
in Nagoya, for a full renovation (photos from Kataoka-san).