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    On track in SM - sadly not mine... #1973-Citroen-SM / #1973 / #Citroen-SM / #Citroen

    1973 CITROEN SM

    DAVID LILLYWHITE @Drive-My David

    The Caterham has been returned to the factory, now the Academy season is over. The MGB and Saab are reunited in a barn down the road. And the SM is back, awaiting my attentions after BL Autos made such a nice job of realigning the front chassis legs, repairing a previously hidden rust spot further back on the engine bay chassis members, and refitting engine, gearbox, brakes, steering and suspension.

    In case you’ve missed a couple of episodes, I had done all that before the chassis problems were spotted, so I asked BL Autos to strip and rebuild the engine bay. It cost me £1000 but I really couldn’t face doing all that work again.
    Inevitably, my enthusiasm for the project was beginning to wane, roughly in parallel with the emptying of my bank account. But along came SM guru Andrew Brodie with his well-campaigned SM, fresh from a fourth place on the Mini Britannia, to the Drive-My track day at Goodwood, and he let me out to play in it.

    On a wet and shockingly slippery track, the long, heavy Citroen appeared to have no grip at the rear, slipping and sliding this way and that. But as the track began to dry, the SM demonstrated handling and poise worthy of much smaller, sportier cars. It rolled about, the rear wheels skittered; but when it did let go it was easy to catch, and it just flew round the track, prompting smiles, amazement and perhaps just a little fear from other drivers.

    I loved it. Balancing the weight of the big SM on its hydropneumatic suspension was as satisfying (perhaps more so) as driving a more obviously track-orientated car around the fast Goodwood circuit. I went home feeling inspired. It’s SM time again!
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