If any automaker in history proved that avant-garde cars could sell to the general public, it was Citroen. From the elegant simplicity of the 2CV to the advanced DS, Citroens have a reputation for incredibly creative engineering paired with artistic design with a certain flair that only the French can achieve.
The SM was borne of a desire for a sporty car based on the DS to compete with the Porsche 911. Several prototypes were built, based on shortened DS platforms but over time, the project morphed into something totally different than originally intended. What was supposed to be a lightweight sports car became a long, low and loaded GT car. Not that this was necessarily a bad thing. In 1968, Citroen had acquired the ailing Maserati with an eye toward using their engines in the SM. The bosses in Paris requested a new engine from Maserati for their project and they were shown a compact, 90 degree V6 that was basically an older Maserati V8 with two cylinders lopped off. But this engine was just a one-off to see how the V6 concept would be perceived. When the green light was given, Giulio Alfieri started with a clean sheet of paper to design the new V6. When 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 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 avant-garde feeling carries on inside when you sit in the rakish seats. Chrome and metallic detailing abounds and even the dash panel is graced with magical oval dials. The SM is truly a car like none other, before or since.
This 1973 SM is from the final year of US production and is in the most desirable specification with the enlarged 3.0L V6 and 5-speed manual gearbox. Anyone well-versed in these machines will tell you this is the ideal spec. This 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, and 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 its original Scarab 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. The Citroen SM is simply one of the most advanced and unique cars in history. It is unusual to find one so highly original and carefully maintained and preserved, it is an ideal specimen of this design icon.