Citroën SM: the car from another planet

Citroën SM
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The year 1970 saw many ups and downs: Brazil won the world championship after beating Italy 4-1 in Mexico City, the war satire MASH receives the golden palm in Cannes, the Beatles split up, the Warsaw treaties (with Willys kneeling) are signed, Jimmy Hendrix and Jochen Rindt die too early, French surgeons implant an atomic pacemaker - and C itroën brings that SM.

Nice, fast, expensive - The SM is a special Citroën

The SM is a luxury coupé with a 175 hp V6 engine from Maserati, runs 220 km /h and is pig expensive. Citroën asked for 31,000 marks. For 1,000 marks less, you got a 350 SL with a V8 engine and 200 hp in 1971. But the price of the SM was not the only thing that broke the usual Citroën framework.

Like no other vehicle from that era, the SM combines avant-garde elegance with excellent aerodynamics. Only the wheels disturb a bit. When it is idle, the SM collapses thanks to its hydropneumatic suspension, shamefully hides its rear wheels and is just a sculpture. Quite different on the road when the wheels have to roll. If an SM comes around the corner, then as now it sets memorable accents: The front license plate, together with six light units, is allowed to travel around the area like a valuable exhibit under Plexiglas. Then the coupé roars with a sporty roar and with a remarkable lean angle.

The SM - proportions of a doped Olympic breaststroke swimmer

The SM seems to get narrower towards the rear of the car. It is not an optical illusion: the front track is 152.5 centimeters, the rear only 132.5 centimeters. The fast Frenchman has the proportions of a doped Olympic breaststroke swimmer. The fact that we still love the SM is not only due to its forgotten elegance, but also to its consistent desire to be different.

Also under the sheet metal, where the technology tries to combine the best of two worlds: From Italy - in 1968 Citroën had a 60 percent stake in Maserati - the sports engine placed behind the front axle comes from France, the super comfortable hydraulic suspension with level compensation, a rubber ball asBrake pedal and an extremely direct rack and pinion steering with servo assistance.

After six years and only 12,920 copies, the wild technology marriage ends. This is due to the V6 under the SM hood, which was later used in the Maserati Merak: its tensioner for the drive chain of the four overhead camshafts occasionally gave up and thus tore the entire engine to ruin. Nevertheless, the SM is clearly one of the highlights of 1970.


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