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    SM provides sniff of affordability / #Citroen-SM / #Citroen / #1971-Citroen-SM / #1971 / #Citroen-Maserati / #Citroen-Maserati-SM / #Maserati-V6

    There seems to have been a recent easing of Citroën SM values, which has to be excellent news for those of us who still harbour semi-realistic dreams of owning one some day in the future. Classified asking prices have yet to budge, but several have struggled at auction lately on both sides of the Channel.

    Most significant was the #French-registered car recently sold by #Historics-at-Brooklands . Billed as one of the best SM’s available, it looked indecently good in a Flat grey with an even Finish and good panel it, and came with an encouragingly full history folder. Our guide price supported Historics’ £38,000-£44,000 estimate, but the bidding only made it to £34,000 – an amount the seller proved willing to take.

    Keep an eye on these – there are limited numbers of good ones about and it is hard to imagine them ever looking other than futuristic.
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    To be rediscovered urgently! Citroën SM Nobility obliges by Vincent Desmonts. Photos Laurent Villaron.
    She had everything for her: sumptuously innovative lines, unparalleled comfort, uncompromising handling and even an engine to the nobility all Italian. And yet, the SM was a bitter failure for Citroën and, beyond, for the high-end French. Regrets eternal...

    At the turn of the 1970s, France had dreams of grandeur. The laborious reconstruction is coming to an end, and the country is resolutely moving towards a radiant future where technology will triumph. Two dates particularly symbolize this conquering optimism: on 2 March 1969, the supersonic Concorde made its first flight to Toulouse; On 11 March 1970, the Citroën SM was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.

    In the air and on earth, the domination of engineering tricolor is total. The Concorde as the SM represents a sort of absolute summit of sophistication and push the limits of physics, the first carrying a hundred passengers to Mach 2, the second combining absolute comfort and total road efficiency. Technological perfections, stinging commercial failures. Greatness and decadence. In the absence of being able to take the orders of the late Concorde, let us install ourselves at the wheel of the "Concorde of the road"!

    The car, which is kindly lent to me by Jean-Marc, is an injection model of 1972, one of the first of its kind, the SM initially benefited from a feeding by three carburettors Weber body notoriously complex to regulate. For Jean-Marc, this car has a special flavour: "My father was a great fan of Citroën, he had almost all models ... except the SM! At the time, with two big teenagers and a dog, it was not really the ideal car, so he preferred a CX. "The" citroenism "being a contagious disease, the son will inherit the virus of his papa ... and will eventually acquire the SM that was missing in the dynasty! "I bought it twenty-six years ago. My father thought it was a funny idea to choose this old thing, that I should have taken a youngster's case, like a Peugeot 309 GTI! But I wanted to give him this pleasure. It was my first old car. Jean-Marc immediately attacked a complete renovation project to restore the car in perfect condition. Much more recently, engine and box have been reconditioned. Now, the beautiful starts in a quarter turn, hot and cold. A real beast of burden!


    Should we return to the emblematic lines of the SM? Everything in it fascinates, starting with its proportions: interminable hood, remote cockpit, truncated rear, uneven tracks. And then there are, of course, a host of details that are not to be found anywhere else, as this ramp of headlights (those in the center rotate at the same time as the steering wheel) under a canopy, registration. Or this air intake on the hood, adorned with rafters. Or these very low tail lights and connected by an orange headband ...

    She deserves her surname

    This Citroen leaves no one indifferent: we adore it, we hate it ... or change. Younger, I was baffled by this atypical physique. Today, I am admiring. Incredibly modern in 1970, it remains fascinating almost half a century later. The cockpit is a concentrate of the time, with its curved seats (totally devoid of lateral support!), Steering wheel and oval counters, or its many touches of chrome.

    Behind this apparent frivolity hides a rather rigorous conception. The ergonomics are particularly elaborate, with a driver's seat with multiple adjustments and a steering wheel adjustable in height and depth, a refinement very rare at the time. So the driving position is excellent. There are however some false notes, like the instrumentation little readable, or the famous car radio installed ... between the seats.

    But do not complain too much: the air conditioning was (already) standard! Our trial takes place in the beautiful region of the French Vexin, hilly, wooded and game. A small paradise for lovers of nature, but a real torture for cars seen the state of dilapidation of the secondary network. But the SM has it magical that it seems to hover over the road. Holes, bumps, speed bumps and other nest-drops are literally rubbed out. It is no longer a car, it is an iron! More surprising, despite its balloon tires and its fascinating softness, the SM does not "lay" at the first turn: its hydropneumatic suspensions also act as an anti-roll, so that the lack of maintenance of the seats is no longer really a problem ... at least for the driver.

    In general, beyond her comfort, the SM amply deserves her surname of "Her Majesty". Its track record is

    Incredibly serene, its wide front lanes ensure a great stability in curve and its road behaviour is still perfectly current. Even braking has not (too) aged ... once you get used to this tiny mushroom it is better to brush than to sink. So imagine in 1970! What car could have held such a high pace, so long, in the hands of just about any driver?

    It's simple: none. It is not I who said it, it is José Rosinski, obviously very impressed by the SM Injection during his test for Sport Auto in 1972 (see previous page)! It is necessary to make an aside about the direction, the famous Diravi which caused a lot of ink to flow. This "reminding direction" was the first to offer variable speed-dependent assistance. The system used the hydraulic system pressure and a centrifugal governor connected to the output shaft of the gearbox to adjust the assistance in terms of the appearance: very gentle manoeuvres, firmer highway. On paper, it's great. In fact, it's ... disturbing! The Diravi filters all the sensations that could rise from the front axle, leaving only the centering force, which remains active at all speeds.

    Practical when maneuvers, where it is enough to release the steering wheel so that it returns to the point zero. More disturbing on the road, where the recall is too marked in the great curves. And in the tightest corners, it's the ultimate acceleration (only two turns from stop to stop) that surprises: one tends to overbrack! Some will see intolerable defects, others, simple peculiarities which are just the attraction and originality of the SM.


    What about the block? It is of course a #Maserati-V6 , designed by Giulio Alfieri from an 8-cylinder, which explains its opening at 90° and its idle an irregular strand. But this 2.7-liter engine is quite modern for its time, with a block and alloy cylinder heads (but cast iron liners), four camshafts head and two valves per cylinder. It is lightweight (140 kg) and of remarkable compactness, so that it has been possible to install it very backwards with respect to the front axle for a better distribution of the masses. It offers performances which were certainly not extraordinary, but which are still very correct today. José Rosinski clocked the SM at 30.5 s on the stopped start kilometer, the excellent aerodynamics allowing a maximum speed of more than 220 kmh.

    In terms of character, the Maserati V6 is distinguished more by its roundness than by its sound, finally quite enough. The 5-speed gearbox (installed in front of the engine), with the control well guided, is a pleasure to handle. The commercial failure of DM, which has many reasons, has been widely discussed. First, Citroën dealers were reluctant to take over the costly Porsche or Mercedes from the wealthy clientele attracted by the SM. Then the incredible technical complexity of this auto disarmed the mechanics. As for its high consumption (20 litres - 100 km according to Jean-Marc!), It could no longer fall badly, in full oil shock. Finally, if the American market first welcomed DM, absorbing one third of production, a sudden change in regulation will ban purely and simply hydropneumatic suspension cars. In 1975, Michelin sold Citroën to Peugeot, which quickly disposed of #Maserati (sold to de Tomaso). Sacrificed on the altar of industrial rationalization, the SM will preserve forever a taste of lost paradise.

    True, the Citroen SM is full of defects. Its rear seats are symbolic, its chest is monopolized by the enormous spare wheel, its engine lacked character and its direction has what to baffle the most impassive driver. But his ability to swallow the miles at great speed, serenely and in a princely comfort fascinates forty-seven years after his appearance. She has cast a spell on me: I am in love!

    Technical data #Citroen-SM / #Citroen / #Citroen-SM-2.7IE / #Citroen-SM-ie / #1972

    Engine 6-cylinder #V6 at 90°
    Cylinder capacity 2670cc
    Distribution 4 overhead camshafts, 12-valve
    Maximum power 178bhp at 5500 rpm DIN
    Maximum torque 232 Nm at 4000 rpm DIN
    Power supply #Bosch electronic fuel injection
    Transmission Manual transmission, 5-speed
    Suspension front / rear Independent wheels, Hydropneumatic spheres
    Brakes 4-disc front / rear
    Wheels Front / Rear tires 205 VR 15
    Dimensions 4.89 x 1.84 x 1.32 m
    Weight 1490 kg
    Tank 90 liters
    Price in France 1972 58,200F
    Price EU 2017 18,000 € approximately
    Performance Max speed: 228 kph / 0-62 MPH (0 to 100 kph) 8.9 s
    Fuel consumption average / 29MPG / 11.2 litres 100 km
    THE OPINION OF ... VINCENT DESMONT What Sport Sport said ... August 1972


    Driving a SM remains a source of wonder. It is not that it is perfect, of course, but it retains in some respects - not least - such an advance on everything that is being constructed at present, it demonstrates such a personality, and it dispenses Such satisfactions that it continues to stand quite apart. Undoubtedly, for road use made long journeys, it is difficult to find a competitor in terms of performance-comfort-safety synthesis. Certainly there are cars that are brighter, more manageable, more amusing, but, it seems to us, none that can surpass the SM in the set of qualities that it offers. Criticism, we have always to oppose it: the ratio of external bulkiness / habitability is ridiculous, the visibility towards the front is mediocre, the braking control ensured by the absurd DS type button lack of progressivity, the accelerations are far from The capacity of the luggage compartment is devoured by the voluminous spare wheel which throne there... But, in the end, all this does not count in front of the extraordinary balance of efficiency of road that reaches the SM thanks to Its exceptional steering with progressive assistance and its unparalleled suspension, serving excellent mechanics. It is necessary to have conducted a SM on a secondary national in mediocre state to realize the absolutely astounding level that this efficiency achieves.



    "Like the Concorde, SM represents a sort of absolute summit of sophistication"


    One of the distinguishing features of the SM style is the ventilation grille hitting the rafters on the hood.
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    Not one but two CITROEN SM PRESIDENTIELLE were build in 1972 for the President of the French Republic, Mr. Pompidou. The first official ride was with Elizabeth II. The CITROEN SM PRESIDENTIELLE comes with a #V6 MASERATI engine 2,7 L and a 5 speeds manual gearbox with a low 1st speed to drive slowly for a long period avoiding heating issues.

    / #1972 / #Citroen-SM-Presidentielle-2.7L / #Citroen-SM-Presidentielle / #Citroen-SM / #Citroen / #Maserati-V6
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    Citroen SM V8 we driving the reborn prototype. Citroen Cars destroyed its SM V8 prototype when #De-Tomaso took over. So one enthusiast built his own - with the original engine. Words Robert Coucher Photography: Cathy Dubuisson.


    For decades. Citroens have been enormously advanced cars let down by distinctly pedestrian engines. And as Citroen destroyed its only #Citroen-SM V8. you'd either have had to build your own - or visit Georges Regembeau.

    Regembeau. born in 1920. first got into engineering at the age of 14, when he built a tractor. At 17 his innovative repair of a road-tarring machine (which had broken down outside his home) earned a handsome sum from a Mannheim company, which patented his modification. So he bought himself a car: a #Citroen-Traction-15/6 .

    After World War Two, he rallied it and even entered Le Mans, and realised the chassis could cope with more than just 77bhp. So he devised his own mechanical fuel injection and supercharged it. For good measure he built a six-speed gearbox, which endowed the Traction with a 131 mph top speed - verified by an officially timed run at Montlhery.

    Regembeau supercharged another four 15/6s for customers, then moved on to develop various modifications to improve the reliability of the Citroen DS. Besides work to make the hydraulic seals more oil-tight, he devised a five-speed gearbox, greatly improving the car’s refinement and economy on the new autoroutes. Then he moved to tuning and. with judicious changes to its cylinder head and induction system, the later #Citroen-DS21ie was capable of a staggering 138mph.

    Soon Regembeau found himself peering beneath the Citroen SM's elegant bonnet. With the oil shock of 1974. Regembeau began proposing a diesel conversion to SM clients whose engines were giving them problems. He had already built an 85bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel for the #Citroen-DS and, by the early 1970s experiments with #Bosch mechanical injection and successive increases in capacity to 2.7 litres produced a reliable 180bhp - enough to push the 1450kg SM to almost 125mph.

    But there was life in the petrol V6 yet. Regembeau understood the V6's flaws and realised that nothing short of ground-up re-engineering would make it run reliably. Starting from the bottom end, he revised the crankshaft, main bearings and piston liners, installed solid valves and redesigned the cylinder heads using better quality steel. He also redesigned the primary timing chain with better lubrication and added automatic tensioners to this and to the secondary belt, which drives the alternator, air-con compressor and the hydraulic steering and suspension systems.

    Regembeau's revisions to timing, induction and exhaust manifolds lowered peak torque from 4000rpm to a more relaxing 3000rpm, while power went up to an impressive 240bhp with triple Weber 48 carburettors. Allied to Regembeau's own six-speed gearbox, the Citroen SM RG was a 150mph car.

    Son Patrick gradually took over the business from a very reluctant father and today, like his father used to, he works alone - although his mother is also an accomplished mechanic who has certainly served her time in the workshop. Visit http ://citroensmregembeau.

    Everyone who is vaguely interested in motoring loves Citroens - but very few of us actually have the courage to own one. That's unfair, because early Citroens, such as the #Citroen-Traction-Avant and the #Citroen-2CV , were as tough as any car. But with the arrival of the DS, Citroen came over all avant-garde and, although it was powered by cheap and simple engines, the hydropneumatic suspension and brake system frightened off owners in the days when many people actually serviced cars themselves. The DS was superbly French but rather too idiosyncratic for most.

    The fabulously outrageous SM was the same, only more so. Styled by #Robert-Opron and fitted with a #Maserati-V6 engine, along with the signature hydropneumatic suspension and brake system that Citroen doggedly stuck to, the SM was an exotic-looking creation. Unfortunately it was launched when the automotive industry - especially in France - was in chaos, the fuel crisis was about to hit and the car proved to be underdeveloped and unreliable.

    During the decades since, the SM was largely ignored by the mainstream classic car world, seen as an over-complicated underachiever. For years, old SMs could be seen smoking around less salubrious suburbs with bits of fragile trim hanging off and the brittle interior crumbling. But in the last few years prices have jumped as the SM has become a desirable icon of the 1970s. With specialists such as Garage Daunat and Regembeau in France and Andrew Brodie in the UK proving that SMs can be made to run reliably and their foibles remedied, interest has rocketed. Even Drive-My editor Eric Richardson is in the process of importing one!

    The SM was recently afforded a seven-page feature, so this is not the place to repeat all the history. And nor should it be, because the car we have here is not one of the ordinary 12,920 production models but a replica of a one-off prototype. In fact it's the only #Citroen-SM-4.1-V8 in existence.

    To the bafflement of many, Citroen purchased Maserati in #1968 and this gave it access to Maserati's engine department, headed by Giulio Alfieri who developed the 2.7-litre V6 for the #Citroen-SM . According to marque expert Marc Sonnery, and detailed in his upcoming book Maserati and Citroen Years 1968-1975, in the spring of #1974 Alfieri was tasked with developing a new V8 engine for the Maserati Quattroporte II. The old Indy/Bora #Maserati-V8 was deemed too heavy and out of date so the Merak V6 engine was the basis for a fresh and more efficient 4.0-litre V8, and the idea was to test it in an SM.

    Alfieri ingeniously enlarged the V6 by cutting it in the middle of the third cylinder from the front and mating it with a one-and-a-half cylinder section from another block. Perfecto! A lightweight V8 that sits behind the front-wheel-drive SM's gearbox.

    Marc Sonnery put the question to Cleto Grandi, who was head of tecnico in the late Alfieri's R&D department for Maserati, and he says: Since Mr Malleret (director of Maserati for Citroen) did not want to use the traditional V8, judged too long in the tooth and uneconomical, it was decided to make a Merak Plus 2 engine... we took a Merak block and welded two additional cylinders from another Merak block and this engine came together quite simply.'

    Grandi continues: 'It was installed in the same position as the six-cylinder except that, to make room for the two additional cylinders, we had to modify the bodyshell slightly in the area of the dashboard to be able to fit the coolant pipes.'

    The gearbox remained standard, as Grandi explains: Normal five-speed gearbox, yes. We practically did not change a thing... To be able to fit [the engine] in the car, we flattened, as opposed to cut, the firewall and it just fitted in. There wasn't a lot of spare space, however.'

    One of Citroens reasons for purchasing Maserati was because of the smaller company's ability to produce prototypes quickly and Alfieri's engineers were skilled at aluminium welding. Grandi says: The distributor, we obviously took one for a V8, I am sure we fitted a Bosch unit, and we made longer camshafts and crank. The most difficult part of the job was to cut the two engine blocks and then afterwards weld them on the inside. That was difficult because of water and oil flow... you have all these passageways which had to be machined and then the two parts of the V8 were placed together so that everything could be calculated, then a welding tool specifically made for aluminium managed to weld it all very well.'

    The compact V8 was secreted into the SM's engine bay using the standard gearbox and engine mounts, with the firewall tapped with a hammer' - as Grandi tactfully puts it - to accommodate the extra cylinders. The regular SM sound- deadening material had to be removed, the exhaust manifolds took a bit of work, and additional pipes had to be added to both headers at the correct angle.

    The standard SM chosen to take the prototype V8 was finished in Rio Red with a black interior - exactly like you see in these photographs. Ingegnere Alfieri land others] did about 12,000km with the car, using it not only as a test bed but also for his personal commute home,' says Grandi. There was troppo potenza (too much power) so we had to change the suspension settings. Then at the end of the testing and development stage we removed the engine and, as the car was by then in poor condition, it was dismantled and scrapped.'

    By 1975 Michelin had decided to sell “Citroen Car Company” to Peugeot along with Maserati, which was haemorrhaging money. Peugeot then sold Maserati to Argentinean industrialist and ex-racing driver Alejandro de Tomaso. A fiery character, he wanted all signs of Citroen totally expunged from Maserati's history and the Citroen SM V8 was one of the casualties.

    Although the original Rio Red SM bodyshell was crushed, the special engine was saved along with other important Maseratis, including a collection of historic racing cars. This collection was then preserved by the Panini family in Modena, where it was put on display at its Parmigiano cheese factory. In 1998 the SM V8 engine was sold to the German Maserati collector Hermann Postert, who displayed it on a stand in his home.

    In the summer of 2009, private collector Philip Kantor persuaded Postert to sell him the prototype engine, to realise a long-held ambition. My late father loved Citroen SMs,' says Kantor. The trouble was they proved somewhat unreliable so he owned five at once to ensure one would always be running. He thought the cars were great but underpowered. Discovering that Alfieri had created this one-off prototype V8, and researching exactly how he had gone about it, I knew I had to recreate it, using the original V8 engine. My father would have really appreciated the engineering challenge and most certainly the result.'

    Citroen SM specialist Frederic Daunat was entrusted with this personal project and recreated the V8 in accordance with the original prototype. And now #Drive-My gets the chance to drive this unique SM in the quiet rural surrounds of Herbeville, near Versailles.

    It's immaculately finished in the soft orangey hue that is Rio Red, wearing the rare composite wheels made by Michelin, and its smart black leather interior appears original. In fact, the SM V8 looks no different to a regular SM but, when the engine fires, the cat is out of the bag.

    And, mon dieu, it sounds good! There's a very angry Italianate rasp that promises a good deal of power. It was never dyno'd, but the 4.0-litre V8 is thought to be whacking out around 260bhp.

    The driver's seat is big and soft; the view over the curved dash and fat steering wheel clear. The clutch operates as it would in the V6 and the V8 provides plenty of shove off the line, while the gearshift moves around the heavily chromed gate beautifully. That fat steering wheel needs to be so because you really have to hang onto it - with high gearing and extremely strong self-centring, you cannot palm along with one hand.

    Frederic Daunat, who prepares rally- winning SMs. has beefed up the hydropneumatic suspension but the car retains that incredible gliding ability across the country roads. As instructed, the brake button on the floorboard has to be treated very gently and at first application the SM nosedives to a very sudden halt. It takes practice to learn how to toe it correctly and it is a bit disconcerting not having a brake pedal to feather into blind bends, but at least you are always assured that the 1459kg #Citroen will stop.

    But going, not stopping, is this car's intention and. boy, is it quick. The V8 engine note hardens at about three thou', then goes off the chart with enthusiasm. Minimal sound deadening meansyou hear it at work from inside, and what a wonderful sound. With super-sharp steering, immense brakes, a tautened chassis and a fabulous V8, this prototype replica is the car that the SM always should have been. It's fast, comfortable, totally sorted, and the added power allows you really to exploit the capable chassis and benign handling to the full. This impressive Citroen is exactly what the late Mr Kantor Sr would have enjoyed for his high-speed European motoring.

    The Citroen SM V8 prototype replica will be offered for sale at the Bonhams Le Grand Palais auction in Paris, France, on 5 February 2011; www. cars.

    The #Citroen-SM-V8
    ENGINE #Maserati 4100cc V8. DOHC per bank, four #Weber #42DCNF carburettors
    POWER DIN 260bhp @ 5500rpm (approx)
    TRANSMISSION Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
    STEERING Rack and pinion, fully powered #DIRAVI
    SUSPENSION Hydropneumatic, front wishbones, rear trailing arms
    BRAKES Vented discs front, solid discs rear
    WEIGHT 1459kg (approx.)
    PERFORMANCE Top speed 155 mph
    0-62mph 7.1 sec (test drive)

    ‘Going, not stopping, is this car’s intention and, boy, is it quick. The V8 engine note hardens at about three thou’, then goes off the chart with enthusiasm’

    Left. Inside, it's the usual plush, deeply comfortable and slightly eccentric SM story, With added speed.
    Above. Carburettor trumpets prove the badge tells the truth - though this V8 was actually built out of two V6s.
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