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Old 3rd November 2009, 12:44   #1
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Default The Citroen SM

Moderators,

Request permission to start a thread on the Citroen SM, a remarkable GT brought about by the union of Citroen and Maserati in the early 70s and the only European car to be awarded the Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine in the US, in its entire publishing history. The discussion here would range as below :

A. Design philosophy
B. Objective for manufacture
C. Any technological innovation in it
D. Production & sales figures
E. Predecessor & successor models
F. Ownership reports, especially from India
G. Surviving units
H. Any other snippet

Thank you & regards
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Old 3rd November 2009, 13:12   #2
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What's stopping you! I used to lust after these cars during my youth. I don't think any of these came to India but I could be wrong. Idi Amin loved them!
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Old 3rd November 2009, 14:57   #3
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Am not too enamoured of Amin's tastes in cars! Having said that I think Brezhnev used one, ditto Tito. Mitterand too ( unsubstantiated).
I'll post relevant material based on the template above, as and when.

Will be good if lovers of the SM share here...

Regards
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Old 3rd November 2009, 15:03   #4
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All I can say is WOW !! My favourite car, my most beautiful automobile will get her recognition on TBHP. Thank you issigonis for starting this thread. I'll contribute whatever I can, in due course..
Meanwhile I have already posted some pictures in "the most beautiful car... ever" thread.
Cheers !
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Old 3rd November 2009, 20:59   #5
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Not one of my favourites the SM enen though it is a technological marvel.
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Old 5th November 2009, 00:35   #6
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Default Let's get this moving !

Let's get this thread started guys !!

The Citroen SM - Introduction, Design Philosophy, and Objective for Manufacture:

Introduction and brief history:

Citroen, right from their earliest days, have been in the forefront of technological innovations. Andre Citroen (Born 1878), started his career with the process of machining gear teeth. (Citroen's "Double Chevron" emblem owes its roots to the famous gears with the same name, developed by Andre Citroen). Soon Citroen was into building low cost cars for the masses, (starting with the model "A"), each one of which was a success.
The "Traction Avant" of the thirties, was Citroen's tour de force, pioneering front wheel drive, and a monocoque body structure, among other innovations.
After Andre Citroen's death in 1935, the company under the leadership of Pierre Boulanger, enjoyed success after success, with the Deux Chevaux (the iconic 2CV), and other models.
In the summer of 1955, Citroen stunned the world, with the introduction of the DS (Deesse - French for Goddess). Not only did this large saloon car win accolades for its unusual and advanced lines, but it also had several firsts to its credit - Hydropneumatic self levelling suspension and powered discs to name a few. It was this car that firmly established Citroen as a maker of great cars, advanced to the point of being quirky and idiosyncratic if one may say so, but upto the brim with innovations.

The SM arrives:

Riding on the crest of this wave of successes, Citroen decided to get into something bigger - something bigger than what any French maufacturer had probably dared to dream at that time. The creation of a Grand Tourer so luxurious and technologically advanced - that it would bring back the French auto industry's glorious years.
The culmination of years of research and development on a "super DS", spurred by its acquisition of the prestigious marque Maserati, the SM was launched in the spring of 1970, at the Geneva Salon.
Designed in house by Robert Opron, the SM created a sensation in the industry, and for some, heralded the comeback of the French Grand Tourer.


to be continued....
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Last edited by SuperSelect : 5th November 2009 at 00:37.
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Old 5th November 2009, 13:15   #7
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SuperSelect,

I am happy to know that there is a kindred spirit who has the same passion for the SM as I do!

I checked my archives and found the text and pics that follow - (for copyright reasons) this piece is attributed to Jalopnik, from Jalopnik's Fantasy Garage. Read and enjoy



"Sometimes we propose a car for our Fantasy Garage because of its overwhelming, world-scorching performance. Other times a car gets the nod on the strength of its engine. Or historical significance. Or fond teenage memories. Or maybe just because it is so damn pretty. And in the case of last week's Ford GT, all of the above. This week's nominee, the Citroen SM, is picked on the strength of its owners. Yeah, exactly, its owners. Brezhnev had an SM. As did both Cheech and Chong. Leno still has one. Idi Amin had seven, while the Shah of Iran had but one. So did Lee Majors, Johan Cruyff, Graham Greene and Mike Hailwood. No less a man than Lorne Greene drove a Citroen SM. Still not impressed? What if I told you that His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Kings of Ethiopia and Elect of God drove an SM? That's what I thought. Though, I hope I had you at Idi Amin.

Luckily, for you non-believers, there's a hell of a lot more to the SM than just a litany of celebrity owners. The name stood for "Sport Maserati" (or, en Francais, "systeme Maserati"). This is so because Citroen had purchased the (until recently) beleaguered Italian brand in 1968. Under the SM's extra-sturdy aircraft-aluminum hood sits the 2.7-liter (later a 3.0-liter), four-cam V6 out of the Maserati Merak. Sporting up to 180 horses the SM was able to achieve 0-60 times in the mid 8 second range. Not muscle car fast, but quick enough to keep up with the Joneses of the day, i.e. Aston Martin, Jaguar and Mercedes. Much more impressively, the SM could cruise all day at 140 mph. Let me stress the "all day" part. As Alex Roy related to Davey, his father's OG Cannonball buddy suggested that the SM might just be the car to break the transcontinental record in. Of course, we concur. In point of fact, the SM might just be the greatest GT car of them all.

And why is Citroen's 70s supercar such a brilliant long distance runner? Two words: DIRAVI. Which stands for "DIRection A Rappel AsserVI." What it means is that for five years the engineers at Citroen had been trying to figure out the trick to high-horsepower front-wheel-drive cars. The solution partly turned out to be the world's first variable-assist power steering unit, which offered plenty of assist at low speeds, and essentially none on the highway.


[The (ugly) four-headlight American version in the pics. Those green balls are the all important hydropneumatic spheres]

What was actually taking place was that the steering featured power-centering so that if you were to let go of the tiller Ė even when parked Ė the front wheels would straighten themselves. Unlike today's systems which actually provide assistance when you turn the wheel, the SM's VARIPOWER system only decreased the amount of locking pressure the centering cam was exerting. What's so fantastic about this setup is that the steering wheel is locked hydraulically from the wheels. Which means that potholes can't steer the car; only the driver can. And man, could the driver steer the car as it was just 2 turns lock to lock.




Also crucial to the SM's Grand Touring status was the hydropneumatic, self-leveling suspension system carried over from the DS. Let me attempt a quick primer. Gas can be compressed, fluid cannot be. Run off a central pump the hydropneumatic system makes use of height control valves to determine how much fluid to pump into the shocks. So, let's say you load up the trunk with several cases of wine. The suspension automatically (because the height control valve is activated) calls for more fluid and the rear is raised to the same height as the front. This is important not only for handling, but it maintains the vehicle's aerodynamic profile as well as the aim of the headlights. Most importantly, the system instantly reacts to road imperfections and adjusts the shocks accordingly. Which makes the SM (and really, all hydropneumatic Citroens) impossibly comfortable, even at high speeds. Most amazingly, the pump that creates enough hydraulic pressure to suspend an entire vehicle is the size of a stack of dimes.

The SM's brakes were run off the same hydraulic system and they featured a few neat tricks of their own. First off, the front brakes were mounted inboard, just like on an H1. This allowed for true center-line steering, a first for a wrong-wheel driver. Like the DS, instead of a brake pedal, one stopped the car by stepping on a zero-travel, mushroom brake button. Depending upon the intensity of your stomp, a specific amount of fluid was fed to the brakes. It sounds weird to our American ears, but to a Frenchman it was as natural as a mistress. And when Popular Science wrung out the SM, it recorded the shortest stopping distance of any car they had ever tested.


"The SM Was Born From Speed And Died With Speed." Ė Citroen


Even the headlights were hydraulic. No, really. Inside the beautiful glass nacelle sit no less than six headlights, all hydraulically mounted so that no matter what the body is up to (wide speed pumps or equivalent terrain can play havoc with the suspension) the lamps stay level. Even under heavy braking when the nose is diving. And two of the six turn with the wheel Tucker Torpedo-style. Which we so, so love. Sadly, US versions only came with four headlights. Rumor holds that the first SM to come to America showed up with a cracked headlight due to air pressure changes caused by the flight. The SM's lights were banned in the USA.

Obvioulsy, the SM was mega-advanced for its time. So much so that with the exception of the radio, nothing about the car seems out of date (though Davey's girlfriend exhorts that the SM "smells like the 70s"). In addition to all of the above, the SM sported rain-sensing wipers (which were also run off the hydraulic system), sodium- filled valves, optional carbon fiber wheels which weighed less than half as much as the standard steel units. Sadly for you junkyard rats, the composite wheels won't fit on any other car. We especially dig that the SM was designed to seat two men up front and two women in the back. It only smacks of misogyny outside of France.




And while, to again quote Mr. Davey G, the SM may in fact be "needlessly complex," no one can argue its sexy good looks. Designed by Robert Opron (who also designed the Renault Fuego), the SM is his masterpiece. Because of its narrower rear track, viewed from above, the hottest of all Citroens looks like a teardrop. The long, well-formed hood and large greenhouse give it classic E-type proportions Ė even though the front wheels are the driven ones. You may also notice that SM's sit fairly close to the tarmac. But that's an illusion. Once the engine is off, there is no pump to keep the shocks filled, so the SM floats to the ground. This aids egress and ingress. Turn the key and in about 30 seconds the SM raises itself up to its true height. The rear of the car is especially fantastic once raised. And who doesn't love the raised chrome mini-fins? Don't forget that you'll be swaddled up to your ascot in voluptuous leather while gripping an oval, single-spoke wheel and looking at oval dials.

The SM was sadly killed off in 1975 after a 5 year run and 12,920 cars produced due to a combination of oil crises and idiotic American bumper regulations. Citroen tried to replace their most-awesome-ever coupe with the CX, but the magic was just gone. Downsides? Were you to own one in a non-Fantasy Garage situation you would need a French mechanic for the hydraulics, an Italian mechanic for engine, a British mechanic for the transmission (it was sourced from Lotus) and an Irish bartender for the headaches. However, since our Fantasy mechanic is the best there is, the SM has no downsides. Therefore it is perfect. So if you vote against the SM, you're making baby Jesus cry. "

Regards
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Old 5th November 2009, 14:09   #8
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More material on the SM.

Model specs
1970-1975 CITROEN SM

Production: 12,920
Price at launch: £5480
Performance
0-60mph:7.5secs
Top speed:146mph
Power:170bhp
Torque:172lb/ft
MPG:19mpg
Engine
Configuration:V6
Aspiration:normal
Fueletrol
Fuel delivery:carburettor
Chassis
Suspension Front: Independent via self-levelling hydropneumatic spring and damper units, pressurised by engine-driven pump
Suspension Rear: Independent via self-levelling hydropneumatic spring and damper units, pressurised by engine-driven pump
Drivetrain: front-engine FWD
Steering: rack and pinion
Bodyframe: metal monocoque
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Dimensions
Length: 4892mm
Wheelbase: 2946mm
Width: 1836mm
Height: 1321mm
Weight: 1450kgs
Overview
The 1968 marriage of CitroŽn and Maserati led to the birth of a highly individualistic sports coupť. The SM took DS technology, threw in a Maserati V6 engine and finished it off with a brooding, angular body that was distinctively CitroŽn, but also looked very prestigious and expensive. Utterly original and technologically advanced, this idiosyncratic French supercar demanded careful care and developed a reputation for fragility which harmed sales. When CitroŽn was taken over by Peugeot in 1975 the SM was one of the first casualties.

Will dig out info. on the design ( under the overall direction of Robert Opron) and the technologies soon...
Some more pics for your viewing pleasure.

Regards
Attached Thumbnails
The Citroen SM-72_citroen_sm_dv07bossa_01.jpg  

The Citroen SM-72_citroen_sm_dv07bossa_02.jpg  

The Citroen SM-72_citroen_sm_dv07bossa_04.jpg  

The Citroen SM-72_citroen_sm_dv07bossa_010.jpg  

The Citroen SM-72_citroen_sm_dv07bossa_i01.jpg  

The Citroen SM-73_citroen_maserati_sm_by_05_le_02.jpg  

The Citroen SM-73_citroen_maserati_sm_by_05_le_06.jpg  

The Citroen SM-73_citroen_sm_sl06rh_05.jpg  

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Old 5th November 2009, 20:45   #9
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issigonis,

Jalopnik brought tears to my eyes.. What a review ! Beats a "facts and figures" treatise any day, and a review like this is good enough for the passionate to decide their one last wish.
Loved the pictures you've posted. This thread is making me lust for the SM more than ever.
Alas, there are no known examples in Inde.

Let's keep this going..
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Old 16th November 2009, 22:19   #10
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Hi,

Posting some more fabulous pictures from the original promotional matter related to the Citroen SM.

I've found a lot more interesting matter on this fabulous piece of machinery, will post a write up soon.

Enjoy !
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