1974 Citroen SM

Rarely have mass-market automobile manufacturers found success in pushing high-tech, cutting-edge products to the general buying public. While innovation and provocative styling are comfortably within the realm of sports car manufacturers, the average consumer prefers to sacrifice some technology for safety and reliability. Yet, Citroen managed to find the sweet spot – embracing the Avant-Garde in its everyday products while still selling them on a mass-market platform. From the elegant simplicity of the 2CV to the technical advancements of the stunningly beautiful DS, Citroens have long held a reputation for creative engineering paired with artistic and uniquely French design.

Citroen’s SM was born of a desire to offer a sporty car based on the DS to compete with the Porsche 911. In 1968, Citroen had acquired the ailing Maserati with an eye toward using their engines in the new flagship. The top brass 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, Maserati’s Giulio Alfieri designed the new V6 from a clean sheet of paper. When the SM debuted in 1970 it was no longer a lithe sports car, but a full-fledged, four-seat GT with an exotic, Italian-built 2.7L V6, choice of a 5-speed manual or automatic gearbox, and front wheel drive. In typical Citroen fashion, the styling seemed 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 underpinnings were equally space-age with fully adjustable hydro-pneumatic suspension developed from the DS, high-pressure load sensitive brakes and fully powered, self-centering steering that allowed the car to be set up with zero caster, thereby eliminating bump steer, but requiring a unique approach to driving. Thanks to its unparalleled ride quality and sonorous Italian V6, the SM has long been considered one of the finest GTs of the era; counted among the most admired and advanced cars of all time.

This 1974 Citroen SM Automatique is a gorgeous, expertly maintained example finished in Gris Nacre (Mother of Pearl Gray) over Tobacco leather. It is one of 134 examples originally built for the US market that were instead sold new in Japan. Deemed by the NHTSA to be noncompliant with their 5-mph impact regulation due to the SM’s adjustable suspension and resultant non-fixed bumper height, these cars were ultimately earmarked for the Japanese market, complete with USDOT-mandated fixed headlights. 

This Citroën eventually made its way to the US and was acquired by a fastidious collector of pristine, unique postwar automobiles. In his care, the SM recently received more than $23,000 in documented mechanical work at The Creative Workshop in Dania Beach, Florida, in 2022. As one would expect, this car has been meticulously well cared for and presents in fine order throughout. The body is exceptionally straight and clean, with crisp feature lines and excellent, well-maintained paintwork in the factory correct color. The bumpers and brightwork are in similarly fine order as well.

Swinging open the big doors reveals a beautiful interior trimmed in Tobacco leather and in fabulous condition throughout. The leather seats show some very light creasing, which lends the cabin an inviting character like a favorite old pair of gloves. Rear seats show very little use, and the original upholstered parcel shelf remains in place and in good order under the rear glass. The full array of signature oval dials is in good condition, with the gold-colored fascia and console inlays in similarly fine shape. Features include air conditioning and electric windows, and even the seldom-seen original Citroen radio is at home in the center console, in its somewhat unusual but factory-correct location, placed vertically between the seats. The radio has also been restored by R&B Vintage Auto Radio to include Bluetooth and voice command. The original jack and tools are in place in the factory location in the spare wheel.

The 3.0-liter Maserati-built V6 is in fine condition mechanically and cosmetically, in keeping with an expertly maintained car. Engine detailing is to a high-quality standard, and it retains the original air cleaner and correct labels and decals. The DIRAVI steering, hydopneumatic suspension and hydraulically boosted brakes work as they should and the 3-speed automatic transmission shifts well. Similarly, the undercarriage is tidy and befitting that of a car that has been driven but sensibly maintained. The automatic transmission lends itself rather well to the SM, accentuating the relaxed, high-speed cruising ability of these remarkable cars. Offered with records dating back to the early 2000s, including invoices from noted model experts such as SM World, Bader Motors, and Citroën Concours of America.

The Citroen SM is one of the most advanced, forward-thinking automobiles of all time, and this is simply one of the finest we have ever had the pleasure to offer. With its outstanding coachwork and beautifully presented interior, this is a fabulous example of one of the worlds most advanced GT cars, an automobile like no other before or since. courtesy of the brilliantly inventive minds at Citroen.

 

Offers welcome and trades considered  

 

$89,500

Stock number 7702

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