Maserati-Powered: Original Paint 1972 Citroen SM

Finding a car as part of an estate sale can be a hit or miss experience. If the vehicle in question went up for grabs because an owner simply grew old and passed away, there’s a decent chance of finding a good car underneath the dust or detritus of life that has been piled around it. Or, you could find a situation where the estate was bankrupt and the owner never had the means to care for a higher end vehicle. This 1972 Citroen SM appears to be a case of the former, as it’s recently been discovered as part of a Texas estate liquidation, and it presents extremely well with original paint and the exotic Maserati-built 3L V6 under the hood. Find it here on eBay where bidding is approaching $9K with a reserve.

The SM features original paint, and I can’t quite tell if it’s Brun Roquebrune (Orange-Brown) or Beige Tholonet (Beige) as I’m sure the Texas sun has caused it to lose some luster over the years. Seeing it buffed out might give us a different answer altogether about the true paint code. Regardless, it’s hard to deny that this SM looks wonderful even with faded paint, and whatever the situation was leading to its discovery at an estate sale, there had to have been a careful owner in the mix at some point to keep this high performance French coupe in such find condition. Look at the chrome trim, the exhaust – it’s all in surprisingly nice shape.

Here’s another good sign: a vintage car left outdoors in Texas for years at a time should, conceivably, be completely ravaged inside, with crispy leather, a destroyed and split dashboard, and door panels melting off of the door skins. Sure, this interior is tired, but by no means does it look like you’d expect for a limited production exotic that’s been parked since 1988, the date of the last registration sticker and/or tag found on the vehicle. My guess is it was garage stored for the time it’s been off the road, and the wear and tear we’re seeing here is just the kind that occurs from every day use. As you can see, the SM is fitted with the optional three-speed automatic transmission.

The transmission was one of the only options of any significance, as the SM came loaded up with all sorts of French ingenuity that will likely prove fairly time-consuming to resuscitate. The larger 3L V6 churned out a respectable 178 b.h.p. and could almost touch 130 miles per hour (and five speed manual could reach 140). The seller doesn’t indicate whether the engine is locked up, but it will require no small amount of deferred maintenance to ensure the Italian-built V6 comes to life without issue. The tires are new, installed to assist with loading, but that’s it for any sort of investment in the Citroen besides the purchase price. The reserve remains unmet, and I would guess you’ll need $10K to bring it home.

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  1. alphasud Member

    As a Citroen fan I have to weigh in. Here is another car I wish I had the funds to mechanically restore. A while back I submitted a BarnFind for a 73 DS12 that is local to my area. It’s still for sale and it has been nagging at me to look at it. I even called the guy a couple times but the weather has been really bad. This weekend is supposed to be good so I might try to get out to look at it. Such cool cars and the SM is the pinnacle but I think a DS might be better for my income level. I don’t know why I have the Citroen bug I had the opportunity when I was younger to work on them but didn’t. Now I regret that.

    Like 8
    • Frank

      Looks like the same DS I saw at the 1972 Watkins Glen GP in NY.

      • Frank

        Sorry SM!

        Like 1
  2. Raymond L Saunders

    French cars are just weirdos, kinda like french people,never will understand the appeal of these goofy looking things…

    Like 4
    • Fernando

      You probably think the Concorde was ugly.

      Like 11
    • MikeH

      Probably spoken by a person who has never been to France, doesn’t know any French people and has never driven a Citroen.

      Like 15
    • matt grant

      you speak from a place of prejudice and ignorance.

      Like 7
    • Dlegeai

      …everybody loves Raymond…..but Raymond does not love everybody….Raymond is missing on a lot!

      Like 3
  3. Doyler

    Nicest I’ve seen in a while.

    Like 3
  4. Greg Lane

    Having had a number of Citroens over the years, the DS is definately easier to own, money wise, but the SM is a true super car. By the by, the DS “Deesse” means Goddess in French, and is considered by many to be the most beautiful sedan of the 20th Century. I would not even consider buying one unless I had a mechanic in my area who could maintain it. Requires many specialist tools.

    Like 3
    • Ken Nelson Member

      Greg, I beg to differ – the DS doesn’t require lots of specialist tools – I’ve been doing my own car work on everything for 58 yrs, and the DS doesn’t require anything fancy – the 4 cyl engine is tough as nails, as are the later post-65 gearboxes. The hydraulics which seem to scare so many people consist of basic plumbing, and don’t require any tool that isn’t commonly avaliable.
      Best part is, once you’ve learned from one Citroen, regardless of whether it’s an early model – 1956-1965, or ’66 thru 75 – you’ve learned most of the car, as they didn’t change much over the 20 yr run – you learn one, you’ve learned them all. They got so much stuff right at the beginning that they didn’t have to change much – you can swap any glass from any car to any other over the 20 yr span, along with doors, rear fenders, trunklid, interior. The front fenders changed once, from single to quad headlights – rears stayed same for 20 yrs. Same with roofs. Hood changed with the fenders – once. Rear bumpers same 20 yrs. Fronts one change with fenders.
      This makes for a good parts availability for same reason – few changes. Best thing anyone can do if interested in Citroens is join a club, and talk with owners. These Citroens aren’t just cars – they’re EVENTS – wherever they go. The design is one of the most memorable, aerodynamic, and recognizable anywhere in the world for good reason. In a wind tunnel the DS has better aerodynamics than a Porsche 911, according to a study I came across around 1967 at Northwestern University near Chicago. That’s saying something!

      Like 11
      • alphasud Member

        Thank for that Ken! I was looking into the claim that work requires a lot of special tools. I’m going to go look at the 73 today if the seller is home. I think I would really enjoy getting to know and repair the Citroen. Like I said it’s too bad I passed on the opportunity when I was younger. I did take on a job to rebuild a Maserati engine that was run out of oil. Definitely a labor of love.

        Like 1
  5. Jamie

    I’m sorry but I’d have to be blind in order to own one.

    Like 5
    • Frank

      If you have ever ridden or drove one you would probably change
      your mind. I was very aerodynamic and quiet with a nice ride. The suspension system is an engineering marvel.

      Like 12
      • Jamie

        But I’d still be blind

        Like 3
  6. Luki

    Lifetime project. It already consumed one lifetime. You want to be next?

    Like 4
  7. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    To me with my small-town Midwestern US roots, these might as well have been from another planet, not just from another country. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate their engineering and technology. But I still haven’t warmed up to the styling. If this showed up at a local show, I for sure would want to talk to the owner.

    Like 5
  8. Greg Millard Member

    Having owned a manual trans fuel injected SM l strongly suggest before purchase you hear & watch it go thru its startup gymnastic ‘push-ups’. With the auto trans version you now have suspension, brakes, steering & trans systems all hydraulic – make sure they all are happy working together. Additionally check the A/C & find the air cleaner. IF you are a methodical mechanic, and up to a challenge …they can be very rewarding especially tearing up rough & twisty country roads – where they have no equal. A car experience of a lifetime – bon chance!

    Like 1
  9. matt grant

    I had a 74 when I was 21 (in 74). mine was a 5 spd, and was one of the most magnificent cars I have ever driven (I had owned over 50 cars, only a couple were american or japanese, and I worked for MB and BMW so I have been exposed to some very cool cars). when new, the car drove well and was unbelievably smooth and competent, but owning one at this time, with parts availability being poor and the car needing completely everything would give me serious pause. I dream of owning one again, but the thought of the cost of keeping one on the road is about as appealing as a root canal without anesthesia. I am happy I have my memories of outrunning a cop on a country road stoned one day. I can live with that alone.

    Like 1
  10. Michael Land

    In 1972, working for a Citroen dealership, I attended the factory sponsored technical training school for the US launch of the SM in Southern California.
    I drove the dealership SM to and back from the training school from San Luis Obispo. I will always remember that voyage for the rest of my life. Citroen was a class act, meals and lodging provided. My current age and health keep me from getting involved with this project…

    Like 1
  11. Mark

    Scott @ Coldwarmotors on YouTube has one of these which he is restoring (it’s on the back burner at the moment)

    Amazing looking cars.

    Like 2
  12. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    My dremel, a tube of simichrome & those cam covers & I’m set for years.

  13. Jeff s

    I worked as a mechanic during the early 80s for the LAST Citroën dealer in NJ. People brought their cars from all over the country so he could service them. I loved these cars and got to drive an SM. it was fantastic, the steering wheel was so sensitive. I did the timing chain on that beast of a V6, it was quite the car.
    I imagine theses days, with the internet parts are easier to find but I remember back then how expensive everything was. I’d love a crack at this one but I couldn’t afford to do it right.

  14. Claudio

    As a very young canadian boy , i rode in one many times
    It was a weird car from every angle
    It did glide like a spaceship
    Way too expensive to upkeep in the early 70’s and that was the reason the owner sent it off to the junkyard and in quebec , they dont have the car bug like americans who like to collect their old jalopies
    So you can bet that is was quickly crushed …
    I like to drive my cars and i like to keep them clean but i need stock parts quickly when there is a failure so i cannot/ do not wish to own such a headache 🤕

    • matt grant

      that’s a sad story. such a grand car should be kept, not destroyed.

  15. Turbo

    I would love to run this thing over with a monster truck.

    Like 1
    • matt grant

      perhaps you should get professional help and discuss your need to destroy. could help with many aspects of your life. just a suggestion.

      Like 4
  16. Raymond

    I like Italian v6 if 3 carburetors but just dont like french cars they look so weird in gay looking i would be embarrassed drive this ugly French car in public get laughed at

    Like 1
    • Luki

      Oh boy. This is gonna get good.

    • matt grant

      oh how would the world survive without ignorant bigots?

      Like 1
    • Quidditas

      Where is the dislike button when you need one?

      Like 1
    • rich

      Ray. Get a grip on yourself.

  17. Quidditas

    Where is the dislike button when you need one?

  18. Tom

    SOLD – for $14k

  19. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Money solves all automotive ‘challenges’.

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