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  • Writer's pictureFrank Oles

1973 Citroen SM

Citroen SM is one of those iconic cars from my childhood. The car's party piece is a three position hydraulic suspension that allows it to raise and lower with the flick of a switch. My uncle, Jim, owned one in the 70s. Jim and my father used to repair exotic cars in the 70s and I loved watching the SM do its thing in my Grandma's driveway. Since Citroen owned Maserati at the time, the car came equipped with a Maserati-designed V6, which was also used in the Maserati Merak, along with the Citroen hydraulic system. Along with the Mercedes 300SEL 6.9 (which Jim also owned), the SM carries the reputation as a very complicated, exotic car to own. But if you know my uncle, the complications and quirks do not scare him at all.

This is Jim’s original SM parked in front of my Grandmother’s house. It was black with a black interior, 2.7 liter automatic model. The automatic transmissions that were available for these cars were a problem area, and sapped performance. The luggage rack on this example was a unique feature.

Jim’s new SM is a 1973 model with a 3 liter motor and a 5 speed manual transmission - arguably the most desirable spec for a SM. The car came from the factory in this amazing shade of metallic blue that has brilliant teal highlights in the sun. Jim won the auction off Bring A Trailer.

Relatives of the deceased owner were selling the car as part of his estate. He was the second owner, and he had the car since 1975. It came with lots of paperwork. Although the car started and the suspension raised and lowered, we elected to have the car towed home from Highland Park since it had sat for a period of time. Better safe than sorry.

The SM comes with this natural brown leather interior. Here, you can see the clean, uncracked dashboard, as well as the cool gold metal dash trim, single spoke steering wheel, oval gauges and unique manual shifter bezel. Surprisingly, this black dashboard panel was also shared with the Maserati Merak.

The underside of the SM is nice and rust-free. It also has a stainless steel exhaust with euro stainless steel headers which make the engine sound even better.

The engine of this car is clean and spotless, having received a complete overhaul of the hydraulic and AC systems. Here, you can also see the euro light bar in front, with inner lights that turn with the steering wheel.

Seen here at the Oak Brook Father's Day Car Show, the SM somehow looks futuristic and retro at the same time. Jim fitted the car with RGB alloy wheels that mimic the original Michelin Composite wheels.

The SM is popular at Fuel Fed car club meets. It fits right in with the Euro focus of that car club. It's pretty turquoise paint really stands out.

And here is Jim behind the wheel of his SM. You can tell he likes this car! It really is a stylish, unique automobile with some interesting design features and technology.

The SM is an important addition to Jim's collection of Citroen automobiles. Seen all together, it makes a good display of what made the Citroen brand so unique, innovative and stylish.

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