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Easily Operational: 1972 Citroen SM

1972 Citroen SM

We haven’t featured a Citroen SM for a while, so I thought this one deserved a mention. The hydropneumatic suspension, Maserati engine, and French styling scare a lot of people off, but these are awesome machines. They competed with the best luxury cars in the world. The suspension made you feel like the car was floating on air and the high performance V6 made traveling at triple digit speeds a breeze. This one is going to need a lot of help before it is going to do any grand touring, but by the looks of all the action here on eBay, more than a few people want to try. The engine has been rebuilt, but the transmission is bad and there is no telling what else will need to be fixed. The seller states that the car is currently non-operational, but that it could be converted to operational status easily. I’m not so sure about that, but for those who understand these cars, this is quite a find. Thanks goes to Jim S. for the tip!


  1. RayT Member

    “Easily” is a dangerous word! To someone with deep pockets it has one meaning; to an impecunious driveway mechanic, it means something else altogether. With a full-hydraulic Citroen, I’m thinking there are some deep-pockets issues….

    The hydraulic system is a potential mess unless you have a specialist handy. All those spheres, seals, lines and the pump can cause problems. When my DS-21 had seal issues, it left me without the ability to change gears (not a problem for the SM), no brakes, steering or suspension. Not pretty. The Maserati engine had some problem areas as well (timing chain primarily) which may explain the later engine swap. The replacement gearbox should be gone through also, as it’s not much fun to R&R. The upholstery looks as if it’s on its way out, and that can get pricey. Add in amateur wiring, and there’s much, much work ahead.

    So not just a can of worms, but a whole 55-gallon drum of the critters!

    Still, once sorted out, these cars are magic. Nothing on wheels rides like an SM; you can cover a lot of ground at absurdly high speeds in absolute comfort. Once, that is, you get used to the steering which is, well, odd.

    I’d love to have one, but would choose to pay top dollar for a car professionally restored. I don’t think SMs are worth the grief if you don’t know what you’re doing and/or haven’t nailed down parts sources.

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  2. Horse Radish

    At least you’re not dealing with a professional curbside flipper from the looks of the photos.
    11 Photos total including 2 of the rear seat and one of the transmission out of the car….
    really ?

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    • JW454

      If you read the complete listing it says the transmission in the picture is a spare due to car having a problem with 5th gear.

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  3. Richard Lewis

    If you have ever seen one of these with the engine pulled out and all the hydraulic systems visible you would be realistic about working on this yourself. It is going to take a Citroen mechanic or a very gifted French speaking friend to help you wade through the needed repairs. All than being said they are fantastic cars.

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  4. onebugatti

    I would have taken it on, but it would have been an impulse. I can imagine what a Maserati motor cost to get running, the wiring, the gearbox and the rest. Has to be $25,000 – , then interior, paint, brakes, etc – up to 35’000$ plus the $7800 purchase price. Impossible to repair in the USA now, need to return home to France.

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