Two For One Deal: 1972 Citroen SMs

Pop quiz: which country is a pair of semi-exotic vehicles with limited financial upside and somewhat complicated drivetrains most likely from originally? If you guessed France, you get the door prize. Now, I happen to love the Citroen SM as it was an engineering achievement in its day and they are delightful machines when kept in good shape or completely restored. The trouble is we mostly see them appear for sale in condition like this duo from San Francisco and listed here on craigslist, which is to say fairly rough and endlessly expensive to restore. The seller is asking $9,950 for the pair, and one of them is a factory manual.

I owned a French car for a short time earlier this year, which happened to a Peugeot 505 wagon. It was a very neat machine, but the Peugeot technician who owned it before me actually made fairly significant changes to it in order to preserve its long-term viability. This included swapping in what was known as the PRV V6 from the Eagle Premier sedan, which was a direct drop-in and enabled future owners like me to find pretty much any engine service part they would need on Rock Auto. In a similar way, the Citroen SM is the kind of car that can stop an owner in their tracks if they’re not prepared for the cost implications of tracking down factory-correct parts from overseas or paying a specialist shop to do the heavy lifting. The old school California plates give you some clue as to how long this pair of SMs has been off the road.

But here’s the temptation with rescuing this forgotten French duo: one of the two cars is a factory manual transmission example, which is absolutely a hard spec to find. The SM’s 2.7L engine was shared with the Maserati Merak, which makes the combination of a free-revving six-cylinder attached to a striking shape with three pedals and hydropneumatic suspension pretty hard to repeat. The automatic cars have 50/50 odds of ever being rescued; a manual like this has a far better chance of finding an owner who will put in the time and money to put it back on the road given the notoriety of the whole package. Given the seller has one of each, it makes you wonder if he bought the automatic to keep the manual car on the road.

The SM has a loyal following, and while these cars are absolutely a labor of love (and some level of insanity), there’s a whole legion of enthusiasts who will be cheering for you from the sidelines if you try to bring these cars back to life. The listing notes they were stored indoors for some time before the storage arrangements changed and booted them outside, so hopefully, those delicate interiors haven’t been left to the elements for too long. Do you think just under $10,000 is a fair price for this pair of unusual exotics? Thanks to Barn Finds reader Rocco B. for the find.


  1. alphasud Member

    The black one is the automatic and the better of the 2 so I’m thinking he purchased the damaged manual car to transmission swap the black one. Stepping up to restore either one will have you in a big time investment. These are too rich for my blood. The seller of my CX said he would rather drive the CX over the SM which he owned a few in the past. Hopefully in the next couple weeks I will have the time to diagnose the Mocca Frappuccino looking oil. I kind of think I will be pulling a cylinder head.

    Like 4
  2. Rw

    Burt Reynolds , Longest Yard, jamming Mr . Saturday night special.

    Like 3
  3. LD71

    Reminds me of that French lottery from back in the day,
    ‘Buy a ticket gor the drawing, first prize is a Citroen SM’
    After that , 2nd prize is a case of Burgundy wine
    3rd prize is a split of real French Chanpagne
    So what is thelast prize?
    Yep, two (2) Citroen SMs !!!
    Leaving the SM jokes to others :D

    Like 6
  4. JohnT

    The 2.7 Liter C114 Maserati Engine was never shared with the Maserati Merak. The 3.0L C114 Maserati Engine (introduced in 1973) used in the SM was essentially the same as the 3.0L C114 used in the Merak.

    Like 4
  5. matthew grant

    I had one in 1974 at the ripe age of 20. of the 50+ cars I have owned, this was by far the most remarkable car I have driven. incredibly elegant in it’s movement, the car was not neck-snapping in performance, but sure footed is an understatement. id love to have one now but I lack the patience to deal with break downs and this car was not the most reliable. but fun!

    Like 4
  6. Duaney Member

    Must be a crime to leave these outside in the weather to deteriorate

    Like 4

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