Citroen SM

Apropos nothing, I would like to show you this fabulous Citroen from the category of “I’d love to have one if it wasn’t completely impractical”:

Fun facts:
– Maserati engine
– Self-leveling hydraulic suspension
– Self-centering, speed dependent steering
– Headlights connected to hydraulic suspension (to dampen bumps)

About 13,000 Citroen SMs were made between 1970-75. They are notoriously difficult to restore and maintain (hmm, let’s see a hydraulic suspension plus a Maserati engine = maybe some trouble?) but oh so beautiful and apparently very smooth and powerful to drive.

Published by

Toni Schneider

Partner at True Ventures. Team lead at Automattic. Advisor at Atipica, Bandcamp, Handshake, Hatch Baby, Madefire, Renovo Motors, and Tend.ai.

11 thoughts on “Citroen SM”

  1. I like Citroens too, but your sentence, “I’d love to have one if it wasn’t completely impractical," says it all. 1) there will be hydraulic leaks; and 2) 99.99% of the mechanics are "over there."

  2. SMs are no more problematic than any other Cits, if you have a good mechanic. And money. And patience.

    I've driven a couple and they are wonderful, in most respects seem very modern even by today's standards, once you get used to a few quirks.

    The one in the picture would be a real find, as it looks to have the very rare carbon-fiber wheels.

  3. Wow! My Father had one he bought new in '73 and had it imported from France. It was his daily driver for a while and alway got looks every where it was. It was rumored to go about 160mph. I never tested although my father claims to have pushe dit late one night on the San Mateo Bridge.. Very fun and VERY tight steering. I ran into an idential SM the other day in Marina Del Rey, I wish we still had it. Our family needs as much maintenace as these cars and thus I was not "consulted" on it's departure or it would be in my garage…oh well, Ces la Vi (sp?)

  4. A brilliant car I would love to own. My family has always had a DS citroens and they are difficult to maintain but brilliant in ride, steering and braking. they feel very modern even compared to the latest cars in many ways. All the features of a DS plus advanced steering and an Italian engine screaming away would be a lot of fun.

  5. . . . but they didn't scream – the engines, I mean. The SM was a pure boulevard cruiser designed to make young ladies mislay their underwear.

    I was a passenger in one at the end of the Seventies, on a sunny afternoon, alongside the sea. And the effect was rapturous.

    I looked into the possibility of buying one recently, but the outlay and the sheer complexity of the restoration made me wince. I still think it is one of the most glamourous shapes I have ever seen, with a front end to rival Marilyn and hips like Jane Birkin. But high maintenance; definitely high maintenance.

  6. I pity all you poor dudes who are so scared of the SM based on its technical sophistication. Speaking as a long time owner/driver/restorer of these cars I can tell you they are no more problem (nor more expensive) to own than any other 'exotic' car in their class. Compare the cost to restore/maintain any Porsche/Ferrari/Maserati/Benz of the same period and you'll find everything being said here about the excessive cost of ownership ridiculous! To the contrary these cars are one of the great bargains on the market now compared to any of their contemporary rivals. The comfort, performance, and styling is unmatched by anything else of the period (early 70's) and current price range ($5000-$15,000). This car got a very misleading reputation as a result of many owners simply neglecting or abusing them. If they are maintained as they were intended to be, they are at least as reliable, if not more so, as any exotic car of their period!! Not only that, but if you put the effort into doing a proper restoration, they are beginning to be recognized and can (and have!!) fectched upwards of $50,000 for superb examples~! Compare that with the value of a typical Porsche 912/911 of the period, or a Maserati Merak, or a Benz SL, and you'll see what a good value and investment these cars truly are!

  7. TOm, the spelling is c'est la vis. Great car though. My lady saw one and fell in love with it. My preference is the old 2CV. Yes, it's a lot slower but you can travel over a greater variety of terrain with one.

  8. Citroen is and always has been inovative, the SM is a supream example. It is in my mind one of the most sexy cars ever produced. I want one, always have. One day my ship will come in.

  9. I have owned a 1972 SM for 5 years now and the maintenance has been minimal You must buy a good car to begin with and you'll do just fine. The car is actually very reliable and a dream to drive. Built like iron. If this car was made with today's technology it would be the best car on the road. When I bought my car I had to drive it 1400 miles home, averaging 80 mph and turning at only 3000 revs. while getting 25 mpg! The 3 dual-throated Webers performed flawlessly. I can't imagine a performance car today doing the same, what a pity.

  10. Citroen SM is a dream that never came true. I have had a DS 21 ie. The use of salt on the roads in Finland makes it almost impossible to have a car like this. So I have settled with a Swedish Houshold Tractor ( a Volvo 240 station wagon).

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