When I bought the Chapron and received the paperwork I started 'calling around' to see if I could find more about it: I could never have imagined I'd find such a rich and exciting history!
The owner I'd bought it from had had it for 20 or so years, it was a gift from her husband. The car had spent much of their ownership at their vineyard n Napa until she moved to Manhattan and took the car with her. As you can imagine it didn't get much use.
I tracked down the person they bought it from who was happy to hear from me; and told me he drove up to Oregon to buy it as a lawyer had bought it at auction in Berkeley when someone had left it at the San Francisco airport and never returned. He'd heard the car had something to do with smuggling drugs back in the '60s.
I was intrigued.
I called the long time head mechanic at Executive Motors in San Francisco and asked if he remembered anything about the car. He sure did, he'd kept a copy of a newspaper story written in the San Francisco Chronicle that detailed the car and its owner's disappearance. He gave me the name of a Private Investigator who was hired by the owner's wife to find her 'missing and presumed dead' husband. The PI, who I spoke with and, it turns out, has had 6 Citroens over his lifetime. And he filled me in on the car's 'real story': It was the Embarcadero Center in downtown San Francisco where the car was left (not SFO) and the owner did, in fact, never return and was never found. The Embarcadero Center sold the car after putting a lien on it for parking. A woman lawyer bought it and took it to Portland. The car purportedly sold for $100 and was in perfect condition. Something was fishy...
I asked the PI what happened to the original owner and he said that he was likely murdered by a serial killer who was killing drug dealers in SF at the time, around 1983. But that's just conjecture.
Back back to today.
A purchased it in New York after having Dave Burnham Citroen go over the car with a fine-tooth comb and had them do most of the work called for including gearbox, clutch, front brakes, etc. A good friend of mine and his professional photographer buddy drove it across America from Connecticut to Pebble Beach, California. I then drove it from there to my home in Seattle. A total of 4,349 miles and it drove beautifully.
Click here for the story of the trip from the photographer Joshua's POV.
Since its arrival here I've been remedying a number of things that were incorrectly done over the years: Namely, some lout had sat on the aluminum hood, so it took months for me to find a great original one to replace it. I also changed the front and rear lighting back to the original stye, sourced the original Chapron-style body trim, added entirely new carpet custom-made in The Netherlands; and a complete high quality respray in gorgeous Vert Jura.
This authentic Chapron is available now.