Maserati-Power: 46k Mile 1972 Citroen SM

When it comes to producing quirky and interesting cars, Citroen is a manufacturer with a history littered with more examples than most. From the utilitarian and practical 2CV through to cars like this 1972 SM, there is little chance that driving a Citroen will see you blending into the background. This particular 1972 SM appears to is in very good condition, and has also been the subject of some careful ownership. It is located in Fort Worth, Texas, and is listed for sale here on eBay. At the time of writing, bidding is sitting at $10,800, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

When the covers came off the SM at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show, the car caused quite a sensation. The styling was so different to anything offered at the time by the mainstream operators that many felt that it looked like it belonged in a sci-fi movie. The owner claims that the car still wears its original brown (Brun Scarabee) paint. If this is true, then it has held up exceptionally well over the past 47-years. There are a few very minor chips and scratches on it, but it would be fair to tag it as a high-quality survivor. The owner provides a number of photos of the underside of the car, and it appears that the car is both clean and rust-free.

The interior of the Citroen has also held up well over the years, particularly if the car has spent the majority of its life in Texas. The leather on the seats looks like it might benefit from a quality conditioner, but they still look incredibly sumptuous and comfortable. It does appears that there might be a small tear on the inner bolster on the driver’s seat, and a seam separation starting at the front of the same seat. The owner does admit to the fact that the car has been fitted with an aftermarket Concord radio/cassette player of 1970s vintage, and it is part of the quirky nature of Citroen design that this is located in the floor console near the driver’s elbow. I’m not overly taken by the installation, and would probably find a specialist to neaten this up a bit so that the control shafts didn’t stick out as much. The rest of the interior is impressive, with no cracks in the dash, and a headliner that is as tight as a drum. The owner also claims that the car has covered a genuine 46,900 miles, but doesn’t mention whether he holds any documentation to verify this. However, judging by how meticulous he has been with the car, I wouldn’t be surprised if he does.

You open the hood on an SM to discover that it is the Maserati you have when you don’t have a Maserati. The engine in the SM was a wonderful piece of design, with the aluminum 2.7-liter V6 weighing in at a paltry 310lbs, and producing 170hp. That might not sound like much, but it did allow the SM to accelerate from 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds, and reach a top speed of 137mph. The engine in this SM is backed by a 3-speed automatic transmission, which should offer smooth and effortless performance. It is under the hood that could potentially be the SM’s weak spot if the car was not maintained correctly. It does appear that the owner of this one has been pretty meticulous in this area, with regular oil changes and servicing, along with regular adjustment of the timing chain tensioner and valves. The triple Webber carburetors have also recently been rebuilt, and the hydro-pneumatic suspension has also been serviced and recharged. This all sounds very encouraging on such an exotic car.

The styling of the Citroen SM doesn’t appeal to everyone, but there is no doubt that it was a radical car in its day. Even today, features like that hydro-pneumatic suspension are a rarity, and this feature provides a plush ride, combined with competent handling. The only potential negative for this particular car is the automatic transmission, as many people do prefer the 5-speed manual. Having said that, for the person seeking an effortless and luxurious highway cruiser, this would be a car that is well suited to that role.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    If I had the guts to own a French car, this would be it. I never cared for the “fish”, but this car looks downright awesome. I said IF, which will never happen, just too dang weird. Naturally, the motor, while probably being the most precise motor in the world, is ok for Watkins Glen, but downtown at 5:15pm, not so much. Everything about these , the French do things so different. Still retains the 1 spoke steering wheel, the speedometer has stopping distances? And is that where the radio is suppose to be? I heard the suspension, while incredibly reliable and smooth, has it’s problems, like fixing it, if ever, and of course, the motor, I also heard, incredibly finicky, in true Italian fashion. French make great cars, I bet this was the nicest.

  2. Superdessucke

    I’m thinking maybe that stopping distance gauge should make a comeback given how younger people drive these days!

  3. Ted

    Me faire vomir. If these cars were teachers they’d have a degree in ugly.

  4. Steve Bush

    Odd that the seller has only one engine pic and no side profile pic of this unique looking car. It’s shown well in the opening scene of the original “The Longest Yard,” in which the late Burt Reynolds steals one belonging to his girlfriend and ultimately pushes it into the bay after being chased by the police. If you could find one in good shape for a reasonable price that didn’t need a ton of work would be way cooler to show up at car shows in than the usual pony and muscle cars.

  5. Derek

    Lovely.

    Shame about the automatic-ness.

    And those headlights are pure mingin’, so they are…

  6. local_sheriff

    It’s such a shame the US face doesn’t retain the glass covering the headlights, the SM looks far better(read: not as ugly) in Euro spec. The Citroën logo integrated in the hood air intake is a cool detail.
    I know it’s a matter of taste, however the SM is one of those cars that I find plain ugly but fascinating being so. A long-time friend owns one; he has zip mechanical skills but being into real estate he has the means to outsource ALL work to professional vintage Citroën mechanics. That’s a good thing – these cars are COMPLEX!

  7. glenn

    its the car from ufo

  8. MikeH

    SM is Sport Maserati.

    • Chris In Australia

      Sadist who designed it, masochist owner? This really needs the glazed European headlights. As observed above, it does dial the ugliness back a few notches.

  9. Mountainwoodie

    It has an undeniable appeal while at the same time reaching deep inside my cerebral cortex with a flashing red light screaming WRONG.
    The pneumatic height/load levelers were the only thing I ever remember being mentioned as an insoluble,at least money wise, problem.
    Throw in the slushbox, the Americanized lights…………next!

    • Karl

      One thing about Citroen is they have been virtually 100 Percent on producing UGLY this car looks like the CCHU CHAT of the firearms world!

  10. Sam Dibitonto

    If it wasn.t so far away I would buy it in a moment..

  11. Neil

    At that price – I’d have it sight unseen- but one has to wonder what the reserve is set at. I suspect, knowing the selling price for these usually, its going to be a LOT higher that figure quoted here. Even with the (much) less desirable auto box.

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