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1972 Citroen SM
£ 39,500.99 (€ 45,375.78)($ 55,000.00)


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  • Location United States of America
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Citroen has always been know for its often quirky but forward-thinking design and when they released the model DS in 1955 is certainly shook up the automotive world. With its futuristic design and groundbreaking technology, it set new standards for what was capable of a road-going passenger vehicle. Work began on a sporting version of the DS as early as 1961. Titled “Project S”, development took almost 9 years and in the end, Citroen wound up designing an entirely new vehicle that would come to be known as the “SM”. The all-new SM was a front-engine, front-wheel drive, high-performance coupe, which was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March of 1970. Designed in-house by Citroens own Robert Opron, the SM was powered by a Maserati built 2.7-liter V-6 engine, producing a respectable 170 horsepower and mated to either a 3-speed automatic transmission or a much more rare and desirable 5-speed manual transmission. Citroen packed numerous technical innovations into the SM, some of which were borrowed from the DS series including hydro-pneumatic self-leveling suspension and swiveling self-leveling lights, which were unfortunately omitted from US cars due to legal issues. The SM was fitted with Citroens all-new variable-assist power steering called DIRAVI, which was self-centering and fully powered, providing for feather-light steering inputs. Although the technology was controversial at the time, the basic principles of the DIRAVI system would later find their way into automotive production across the board. Additional interesting technology housed in the SM included a wiper mechanism that was “rain sensitive,” fully adjustable steering column, disc brakes on all four corners with self-adjusting front to rear balance, and optional (later becoming standard equipment) carbon-reinforced glass fiber resin “plastic” wheels on later cars. The US was the main export market for the SM and given its unique styling and innovative technology it made quite an impact in America. In 1972 it was awarded Motor Trend magazine Car of the Year award, which until this time was unheard of for a non-US vehicle. Certain modifications were necessary to import the SM cars, including the removal of the 6 headlight setup of the European version, as well as the removal of the glass covers which sat over top of the headlights. Despite strong initial sales in the US market, the SM was dealt a death blow in 1974 when it did not receive an exception to the 5mph bumper regulation which was put in place by NHTSA. The trick variable height suspension, which had been a key selling point of the car made compliance all but impossible. The final 134 cars which were to be destined for the United States were instead shipped to Japan and sold there. In total, approximately only 2400 Citroen SM made their way stateside between 1972 and 1973, making US-spec models quite rare. The SM however was ultimately a success for Citroen, beautifully showcasing not only their unique and interesting design work but also pushing the boundaries of current automotive technology of the time.

This example on offer here is a rare U.S. specification 1972 Citroen SM, chassis number 00SB6469. It is a very well preserved model which is largely unrestored and finished in the same beautifully contrasting Orient Blue exterior with Light Brown interior that it left the factory with. This SM is also equipped with a rare and desirable 5-speed manual transmission. Originally sold on 1/23/1973 and delivered new to Marina Del Rey California, this particular SM was later a long term resident of Arizona, aiding in the overall dry and well-preserved nature of the car. Extensive service records, dating all the way back to 1973 are included with the car, further supporting the originality of this SM. In more recent times, a full engine rebuild was carried out in 2006, completed by Dorman’s Vintage Car Garage in LaPorte Indiana. The hydraulic suspension was serviced and rebuilt in 2009 and on the interior, the seats were redone in 2014. In March of 2015, this SM was treated to a thorough sorting by Sports and Collector Car Center of Tempe, Arizona amounting to almost $11,000 in billing. This thorough sorting included new exhaust, brake service, fuel system service, clutch service, fluid change, chassis lube, carburetor service, and a new set of Michelin XWX tires amongst a few other things. Receipts for all recent servicing as well as service work dating back to 1973 are available and included with the car. Thanks to its years of careful service and ownership, this SM remains in fantastic original condition and is very strong mechanically. It runs and drives very nicely and currently needs nothing but a new home.

Included with the sale of this vehicle are the factory jack and spare wheel, radio manual, and a copy of the owner’s manual.

The Details
EXTERIOR
Body And Paint
This particular Citroen SM wears a beautiful Orient Blue exterior paint, which meters between 4-6 throughout much of the car. It does appear that the rear passenger quarter panel was repainted however as it registers higher on the meter and the consistency of the paint in this area does not match the rest of the car. Other than this region though, the paint throughout the car is very consistent and retains good color. It should be noted that there is extremely light, short, and fine checking in the paint throughout the car, which can only be seen when up close to it. There are also some minor paint blemishes along the lower rockers of the car and an area of issue just behind the passenger side door where it appears something was dripped and degraded the paint. The body itself remains very smooth and straight with consistent door gaps and shut lines throughout the car. Factory spot welds are evident in the drip rails running the length of the roof.

Glass And Trim
The brightwork throughout the car is in serviceable condition, with good shine and a consistent surface but it does show some minor swirling and scratching in areas such as the bumpers and other high wear areas. Some of the brightwork surrounding the windows has some minor dings in it from normal use. The rubber much like the brightwork is in serviceable condition, showing as solid and relatively supple but with some issues that come with age and use. The worst part is likely the rubber trim on the rear bumper which has some tears in it. The driver's side door handle shows some minor pitting on the surface. The glass throughout the car is in good condition, showing some minor imperfections consistent with the good original condition of the car but appearing clean and clear.

Wheels
The wheels are the version that includes a steel wheel with polished hubcaps. It appears that the hubcaps were likely replaced at some point and they are all in good order with bright polished surfaces and clean painted sections. The two rear wheels are partially covered by miniature spats that are in good condition.

Notable Flaws
It should be noted that there is a fairly consistent amount of very fine, very light checking in the paint throughout a good portion of the car. This condition only becomes visible under up close and direct light.

INTERIOR
Seats And Surfaces
The interior is a nice mix of originality and sensibly replaced items. The seats were redone in 2014 and look to be correct with good stuffing and remaining in excellent condition. The door cards appear to be largely original and as such show some minor patina in the form of small areas of staining and scratching. There is also a small tear on the driver's side armrest located on the door as well as some separation on the upper section where the molding meets the window. The carpets appear to be original and as such show a bit of wear and some light staining in high traffic areas. The passenger side door handle is dry and cracking. The dash and center console remain in nice condition. The steering wheel currently has a cover on it that we have not removed so the condition underneath is unknown. The headliner is sagging and separating from the sealing around the edges in a few spots

Functionality And Accessories
For the most part, all items in the interior appear to be original and well kept. There is some minor pitting on the brightwork around the shifter. The gauges are clean and clear, with only some minor dulling of the white numbers, and appear to function as they should. Buttons, switches, levers, and toggles show their originality in some areas but appear to remain in good cosmetic and mechanical order. There is what appears to be an after-market radio located in the center console but an original type version is included in the sale.

ENGINE BAY AND TRUNK
Engine Bay
The engine bay appears well kept and looked after and judging by the truly impressive amount of service records over the years it's easy to see why. Painted surfaces are smooth and consistent and most of the metal surfaces appear clean and free of issue. Hoses, Tubes, Wiring, etc. all appear in well-kept condition. Overall the engine bay is an excellent representation and of the strict care and ownership as displayed by the service history provided with the vehicle.

Trunk Area
The trunk area shows well-fitting black carpeting with some minor staining. The spare wheel is tucked neatly under its back carpeted covering and the factory tool kit is housed in the center of the spare wheel.

MECHANICALS
Engine
Thanks to its recent engine rebuild and fastidious maintenance throughout the years, the 2.7 liter Maserati V-6 engine is strong and healthy. Firing to life with ease, it settles into a smooth idle once up to temperature. Out on the road, it provides ample smooth and smooth power with no flat spots or stumbles in acceleration.

Transmission
This particular SM is equipped with a highly desirable 5-speed transmission. The transmission shifts smoothly between gears and the clutch has proper feedback and take-up.

Brakes And Suspension
The braking system was gone through fully in 2015 and remains in good order. The brakes bring the car to a smooth and controlled stop with no issues. Because the suspension on these cars is so intricate it is often an area of issue but thanks to its excellent service history the suspension on this car is in excellent order. The ride is smooth and controlled with no odd road characteristics to note.

Tires
The tires are Michelin XWX types on all four corners plus the spare and were replaced in 2015. They retain solid sidewalls and ample tread life.

  • Exterior Colour Orient Blue
  • Interior Colour Light Brown
  • Drive LHD
  • Chassis Number 00SB6469