Begun in 1961, 'Project S' emerged from Citroën's requirement to develop a sports variant of the revolutionary DS. As was customary for the quirky French firm, many running concept vehicles were developed with increasingly complex and upmarket features to differentiate the 'sports' project from the popular DS. The acquisition of Maserati by Citroën in 1968 was motivated by the possibility of harnessing Maserati's high-performance engine technology to produce a true Grand Tourer, combining the sophisticated Citroën suspension with the power of a Maserati V6.
The result was the Citroën SM, which was first shown to rapturous appreciation at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1970. It went on sale in France in September of that year in left-hand drive only, although right-hand drive conversions were later offered in the UK and Australia. The SM was Citroën's flagship vehicle, competing with other high-performance GTs of the time from manufacturers such as Jaguar, Lotus, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo and Porsche. It was also Citroën's way of demonstrating just how much power and performance could be accommodated in a front-wheel drive design. As an example of Citroën's optimism and progressive technology, the SM was untouchable, and similarities drawn by pundits of the day to the design and futurism of aircraft such as Concorde cemented the love affair still borne by car aficionados today.
The SM was a two door, four-seat coupé powered by a 2670cc, Maserati, four-cam, 90-degree V6 producing 180bhp at 6,250rpm, all fed through the front wheels. In 1972 the 2.7 was changed from triple Weber 42DCNFs to Bosch Jetronic injection although later cars returned to the Webers. It was capable of 0-60 in around 8 seconds and had a top speed in fifth gear of 140mph. The suspension was 'Hydropneumatics' and the steering was 'variable-assist' hydraulic. Everything about the car was complex and innovative which is probably why they continue to generate such interest.
This, 1971 SM, is a carburetor car that was originally supplied to the French market and was imported into Austria a few years ago where it was proudly displayed in a wonderful Viennese private collection. It has recently undergone recommissioning and servicing including inspection and partial reconditioning of the suspension hydraulic system.
The car is presented in very good order throughout and it has been maintained well throughout its life.
The coachwork is straight and dents free with good panel gaps all round. The interior trim is lightly patinated but all present and in very good condition. We are told the engine “runs smoothly having just undergone a service and had the carburetors balanced, and the gearbox runs through all gears faultlessly with no knocks or rattles”. This exciting and rare piece of French exotica appears to run and drive well and is ready for a new owner to enjoy.