The Citroen SM was launched in 1970 as a direct result of the marriage of Citroen and Maserati. This took place in 1968 and in two short years the SM had been created, which was quite a feat in the days before computer aided design or manufacture. The body styling was classic idiosyncratic Citroen, and under the bonnet lay a 2.7-litre V6 that Maserati designed especially for the car. No existing Maserati engine could be used because it would have fallen foul of France’s excessive taxes.
The SM featured numerous technological innovations, many based around its central hydraulic system. These include self-levelling suspension and headlamps, rain-sensitive wipers, fierce in-board brakes, and DIRAVI steering; the latter is a self-centering system with speed-sensitive assistance. With two turns lock-to-lock it is a precise system after a little practice.
When the SM was launched is was not a success. There was an initial problem with the engine chain tensioning system, which could cause spectacular issues. In most cases the problems were exacerbated by over revving the engine when it was cold. Being similarly priced to a Porsche 911 (and a semi-detached house) also didn’t help! Unfortunately, the onset of the Oil Crisis shortly after its launch only speeded the car’s demise, and in 1975 production halted after just 13,290 examples had been produced.
Despite the limited production run SMs were popular with the rich and famous. The late, great Mike Hailwood drove his SM to every European GP when he raced for John Surtees; he thought it the finest Gran Turismo available at that time. Leonid Brezhnev, Johan Cruyff, Bill Wyman, and author Graham Greene were converts, along with Idi Amin who actually owned two.
Or de Simiane (gold) metallic paintwork, Black leather upholstery, Five-speed manual transmission, Self-leveling hydro-pneumatic suspension, Power-assisted and speed-sensitive steering, Dual circuit four-wheel disc brakes, Self-leveling headlamps, Directional headlamps, Electric windows, Height adjustable front seats, Front head restraints, Front seat belts, Rear armrest, Spare wheel, Spare key.
Having been treated to an extensive 3,000 hour refresh over a four year period this 1973 SM presents exceptionally well throughout. The attractive metallic gold paintwork is finished to an excellent standard with a deep and uniform shine across every panel. Having only recently been completed there are no unsightly blemishes to report, with all brightwork and trim remaining in outstanding condition also. At the front end the delicate glass headlamp covers are free from any chips or damage, and at the rear the lights are without any signs of moisture ingress, the only negative to report here being a couple of very light cracks in the original reflector panel.
VIEWINGS WELCOME BY APPOINTMENT ONLY /// ADDITIONAL PHOTOS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
The cabin is wonderfully Seventies in its design while also boasting modern comforts such as power-assisted steering, electric windows, and height-adjustable front seats. Period features like the single-spoke steering wheel and gold embellishment really add to the sense of occasion, and all the switchgear still feels reassuringly solid to operate. The original leather upholstery presents amazingly well with absolutely no rips or damage to speak of. The headlining is also in excellent condition and the carpets throughout appear as new having been replaced during the refurb.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
Lifting the bonnet you’re greeted by one of the finest SM engine bays we’ve seen, the whole area presenting in absolutely first-rate condition. Everything appears like new with almost every component having been either refurbished or replaced for a truly box-fresh finish.
Leaving the factory in 1973 as a fuel-injected model, the engine of this example was soon converted to the three-carb setup found in earlier SMs. We understand this work was carried out in Italy on behalf of the first owner who favoured the simplicity and tuneability of carburettors over the SM’s more temperamental EFI system. The car remains on carbs to this day, with all three having recently received a tune-up by our trusted classic car specialists. New high pressure oil hoses have also been fitted at the current mileage.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The 15-inch steel wheels are shod in a matching set of period-correct Michelin XWX tyres. The wheels are finished in black with the correct stainless steel covers, all presenting in excellent condition with no signs of any wear or damage.
This stunning Italian-supplied SM was first registered in 1973. It started life as an Injection Electronique model but was soon converted to run on Weber 42 DCNF carburettors. The car stayed in Italy until 1992 when it was then imported into Belgium. It was purchased by the current owner in 2016 with the restorative work commencing the following year. Carried out by a notable classic French car specialist in Bucharest this work was completed over the course of four years. The circa 3,000 hour restoration is well documented with over 100 photographs and included the following items:
• New electrostatically applied paint
• Rust protection and underside treatment
• New windscreen and green-tinted glass all round
• New Italian-spec clear front indicators
• New CIBIE glass headlamp covers
• New electrics
• New battery
• New cabin insulation
• New carpets
• New lights
• New wipers
• New brake discs and pads all round
• New clutch
• New wheel bearings all around
• New rubbers and bushes
• Refurbish spheres all round
• Refurbish alternator
• Refurbish starter motor
• Refurbish hydraulic pump
• Refurbish AC compressor
• Stainless steel exhaust
• Stainless steel sills
• Full service including gearbox oil
Since arriving with us the SM has received a full health check and also benefits from new high pressure oil hoses. It is fully UK registered with zero former keepers shown on the V5C, and while a limited amount of paperwork is present with the car, the condition really speaks for itself.