In 1961, Citroën began work on 'Project S', a sports variant of the revolutionary Citroën DS. As was customary for the firm, many running concept vehicles were developed, increasingly complex and upmarket from the DS. Citroën purchased Maserati in 1968 with the intention of harnessing Maserati's high-performance V6 engine technology to produce a true Gran Turismo car combining the sophisticated Citroën suspension. The result was the Citroën SM; first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1970 and which went on sale in France in September of that year. Factory produced cars were all lefthand drive, although righthand conversions were supplied to the UK and Australia. The origin of the model name 'SM' is not completely clear. The 'S' may derive from the Project 'S' designation and the 'M' perhaps refers to Maserati, hence SM is often assumed to stand for 'Systeme Maserati' or 'Sports Maserati'. Another common alternative is 'Série Maserati' but others have suggested it is short for 'Sa Majesté' (Her Majesty in French) which aligns with the common DS model's nickname 'La Déesse' (The Goddess). With only three previous owners, this 1971 SM was delivered new to France and imported to
Of all the automakers in history, Citroen was the one that proved that cleverly-designed, avant-garde cars could sell well to the general public. From the elegant simplicity of the 2CV to the highly advanced and futuristic DS, Citroens have a reputation for incredibly creative engineering solutions paired with artistic design and a distinctly Gallic charm. Citroen’s brilliant SM was born of a desire for a sporty DS based car that could compete with the Porsche 911. Several prototypes were built, based on shortened DS platforms, but the project changed tack over time and became something wholly different than a 911 competitor. In 1968, Citroen had acquired the ailing Maserati with an eye toward using their engines in this new sports car. The bosses in Paris requested a new engine from Maserati for their project and they were shown a compact, 90 degree V6 that was in essence a Maserati V8 with two cylinders lopped off, though this engine was just a one-off to see how the V6 concept would be perceived. Once the green light was given, Maserati’s Giulio Alfieri started with a clean sheet of paper to design the new V6. When the new car, called the “SM”, debuted in 1970 it was no longer a lithe sports car, but a full-fledged grand touring car with an exotic, 2.7L DOHC V6 and either a 5-speed manual or automatic gearbox and front wheel drive. In typical Citroen fashion, the styling appeared to be inspired by science fiction. The long sweeping body featured wheel spats at the rear and actually tapered like a teardrop when viewed from above. Headlamps encased in glass were hydraulically adjustable and swiveled with the front wheels on European models. The chassis was equally space-age with fully adjustable hydro-pneumatic suspension, load sensitive brakes and fully powered, self-centering steering that allowed the car to be set up with zero caster, thereby keeping the tires in full contact with the road at all times. The space age theme carries on in the cabin with rakish bucket seats, chrome and metallic detailing, and an instrument panel fitted with fabulous oval dials. The SM is truly a car like none other, before or since. Our featured SM is a handsome 1972 model showing just 41,000 miles from new, finished in the classic color combination of champagne over tobacco brown leather. It is a quality car that has been very well maintained by marque experts, a critical fact to consider when purchasing an SM. The champagne paintwork is very tidy and attractive. Body panel fit is very good, and the exterior trim is factory correct, in very good condition and in keeping with the fine, unrestored and low mileage nature of this car. As any true Grand Touring machine should be, the interior is luxuriously appointed, and this being a Citroen, magnificently styled. Handsome brown leather appears original and is in excellent condition, very well preserved and quite inviting. Electric and hydraulic functions work as they should and this example is fitted with an automatic transmission which suits the soft-riding and relaxed nature of the SM quite well. The Maserati V6 runs strong and appears very tidy and properly presented in the engine bay. The hydro-pneumatic suspension appears to have been regularly serviced as well; functioning properly and offering excellent handling with incredible ride control. Having never been fully restored, this SM remains very tight and warmly attractive, with an inviting patina that encourages regular use. The Citroen SM is one of the most advanced, forward thinking automobiles of all time. Thankfully, the performance lives up to the avant-garde styling and these cars reward owners who use them on a regular basis. For an enthusiast looking for a classic driver’s car that combines the best of Italian power with French flair, there can only be one choice: The Citroen SM.
When it comes to clever engineering, it is often the Germans we consider first. Yet history has shown us that the French engineers at Citroen lead the way with clever, Avant-Garde thinking, of course with a healthy dose of Gallic flair. From the elegant simplicity of the 2CV to the highly advanced and futuristic DS, Citroens have a reputation for incredibly creative engineering solutions paired with artistic design. Citroen’s brilliant SM was born of a desire for a sporty DS based car that could compete with the Porsche 911. Several prototypes were built using shortened DS platforms, but the as the project evolved, it became something wholly different from a 911 competitor. In 1968, Citroen had acquired the ailing Maserati with an eye toward using their engines in this new sports car. The bosses in Paris requested a new engine from Maserati for their project and they were shown a compact, 90 degree V6 that was in essence a Maserati V8 with two cylinders lopped off, though this engine was just a one-off to see how the V6 concept would be perceived. Once the green light was given, Maserati’s Giulio Alfieri started with a clean sheet of paper to design the new V6. When the new car, called the “SM”, debuted in 1970 it was no longer a lithe sports car, but a full-fledged grand touring car with an exotic, 2.7L DOHC V6 and either a 5-speed manual or automatic gearbox and front wheel drive. In typical Citroen fashion, the styling appeared to be inspired by science fiction. The long sweeping body featured wheel spats at the rear and actually tapered like a teardrop when viewed from above. Headlamps encased in glass were hydraulically adjustable and swiveled with the front wheels on European models. The chassis was equally space-age with fully adjustable hydro-pneumatic suspension, load sensitive brakes and fully powered, self-centering steering that allowed the car to be set up with zero caster, thereby keeping the tires in full contact with the road at all times and completely eliminating bump steer. The space age theme carries on in the cabin with rakish bucket seats, chrome and metallic detailing, and an instrument panel fitted with fabulous oval dials. The SM is truly a car like none other, before or since. This 1973 example is one of the nicest and best performing SM’s we’ve encountered. Fully sorted by Jerry Hathaway at SM World, it is very handsome and very usable. Originally in long-term ownership in California, the car was purchased from the original owner in 2004 where it was then treated to a sympathetic restoration. Doors, brightwork and decklids were removed and the car was stripped and resprayed in the attractive medium blue base-clear it presents in now. After paint, the car was then sent to SM World for reassembly where it also received a full mechanical service that included timing chains, rebuilt carburetors, valve adjustment, new hydraulic spheres, rare anti-roll dampers and Mr. Hathaway’s own proprietary ignition upgrades. The long, flowing Robert Opron-penned body work is crisp and very straight, showing good panel fit and very nice feature lines. The medium metallic blue color is very handsome, and the paint quality is very nice, showing just some very minor orange peel but remaining overall quite attractive and tidy. The original glass is excellent and has been fitted with new rubber at the time of reassembly. The chrome and stainless brightwork is correct and presents beautifully. It rides on correct original alloy wheels which are wrapped in proper tall-aspect ratio radial tires for just the right road presence. The awesome space-age interior has been restored with black upholstery, accented by the signature gold inlays on the instrument panel and center console. The distinct oval gauges are in excellent condition, as are the switchgear and original radio which is correctly mounted longitudinally in the center console. Upholstery, carpeting, headlining, door cards and trim are all in excellent condition. Beneath the hood rests the specially designed four-cam Maserati V6 engine connected to the very desirable 5-speed manual transaxle. Expert fettling by Jerry Hathaway ensures the hydro-pneumatic system works perfectly and that the sonorous V6 is running at its best. The signature green hydraulic spheres are in excellent condition, and the maze of plumbing is tidy and properly routed with many new hoses and fixtures apparent. Following the restoration work, the car was sold in 2008 where it received more specialist service, including a rebuilt alternator, hydraulic pump and R134a conversion. As recently as March 2016 it has had fresh fluids and a careful check of the timing chain. This truly is a turn-key SM. The Citroen SM is one of the all-time great GT cars. It is not likely we will ever see designers and engineers pushing the limits of creativity in the same way. The SM looks and drives like no other car out there, and this example has the benefit of extensive service by the very best in the business. The sale of this fine SM includes records and receipts, California registrations from 1974-2004, extremely rare original folding key, books, manuals, spare and jack, tool kit, and original California blue plate that was fitted to the car from 1973. This is a rare opportunity to own one of the best.
In 1968, Citroen purchased Maserati with plans to take advantage of the Italian company’s experience with high-performance engines. The goal was to design a GT car that combined Citroen’s highly advanced hydropneumatic suspension system with the power of a Maserati V-6. The result was the SM, first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 1970, Citroen’s flagship automobile for the next five years. Brilliantly designed and styled, it impressed the automotive press with its blend of speed, braking, handling and comfort which, like its shape, was unlike anything available in another automobile at the time. It even became the first non-American car to win Motor Trend’s Car of the Year Award. The SM had disc brakes on all four corners, inboard at the front and with self-adjusting pressure at the rear based on load. It also boasted the remarkable self-leveling hydropneumatic suspension from the DS, and introduced a new type of variable assist power steering dubbed DIRAVI. The unique and attractive bodywork was penned in-house by chief designer Robert Opron, and gave the SM the very impressive drag coefficient of 0.26, 10% less than the 2014 Corvette's 0.29. With a top speed of 140 miles per hour, it was also the fastest front-wheel drive car in the world in its day. A true technical marvel with no shortage of unique characteristics or charm, the Citroen SM was one of the most memorable cars of the 1970s. In the United States, however, the SM did not get off to a perfect start. The EPA-required air-injection pumps caused the exhaust manifolds to overheat. The oil pump and ignition systems were troublesome in cold weather, and the timing chains for the advanced 2675 cc V-6 were not free of problems. Modern owners have long since found solutions to these issues and when properly sorted the Citroen SM is a strong, reliable and practical classic that can be used regularly and confidently. This 1973 Citroen-Maserati SM is a fantastic highly original example that was long-term owned by a passionate and knowledgeable Citroen enthusiast who gave it every attention and upgrade to ensure it was reliable, comfortable and fast. With the more desirable 5-speed manual transmission, it was driven regularly and shown at several events. It wears one repaint and has had a very comprehensive mechanical sorting from top to bottom. Finished in an attractive metallic brown, it has a brown leather interior, air conditioning that blows cold, a Pioneer cassette stereo and all new Pirelli tires. Also included are the original owner’s manual and warranty book. More importantly, the thorough mechanical work that it has received has left it a strong running and driving SM that can be used regularly with confidence. Highly original and set up for enjoyment, it is an ideal specimen of this design icon.
1972 Citroen SM s/n 005B9860 Black with Black Leather The Citroen SM is a truly fascinating car that epitomizes Citroen’s long tradition of innovation and disregard for convention. Their previous track record included the Traction Avant, one of the world’s first front wheel drive cars, the 2CV, whose main competition was the donkey cart, and the DS, a stunning family car that was aerodynamic, beautiful, futuristic, and offered the first mass-produced application of disc brakes, a monocoque chassis, and a magic carpet smooth ride thanks to its adjustable height oleopneumatic suspension. The SM was introduced as Citroen’s flagship in 1970. The company had purchased Maserati in 1968, an important piece of Citroen’s plan to build a high performance GT that was related to the DS. Citroen asked Maserati to develop a six cylinder engine, which would be used both in this car and a new small Maserati to compete with Ferrari’s Dino, the Merak. The 90 degree V6 featured quad cams, made typically Italian noises, and was coupled either to a 5-speed manual or an automatic transmission. The SM was extraordinarily aerodynamic, with a Kamm tail, sloping roofline, and attentive streamlining, which g