I know only the engine is italian but... Does anyone know if there are any around the SF bay area or Sacramento? I like them, but I have never seen one in person and I would like to if I had the chance.
I have only seen 3 citroens ever, a 2CV, (I think) a DS19 that belonged to someone on here, and a DS21 that belonged to a little old lady that had been driving it since it was almost new. i asked her if she knew anyone who had an SM, and she said she saw them at shows sometimes, but didnt know of anyone in particular. Although it would be a few years before i could afford it, i do kinda want one someday, but I'd like to see one in person if I had the chance to see if they are really as cool as they look in pictures.
Back in the early 70's I worked for an Alfa, Triumph, Citroen dealership as the parts manager. The Triumphs were junk. The Alfas were good cars, but kept us working with relatively routine maintenance. The Citroens seemed to never break, but the routine maintenance was astonishing. The early DS/ID cars never had anything go wrong with them, but the routine hydraulic system maintenance was expensive. The SM had the same hydraulic system demands, plus the Maserati engine would simply eat you alive. The timing chain was a poor design and had to be replaced every so often at HUGE money. Note that we never had any unexpected failures, but back then they were all relatively new and being well maintained by their owners. I cannot fathom the demands of keeping one on the road today.
Strange that here in N.M. We have a good number of Citroens, one local owner daily drives his SM and take frequent cross country jaunts in it. We have a local mechanic that is well versed in the hydraulic system because it was used on his Maserati Bora.
And yes they are as cool as they look, not sports cars by any means but grand tourers, I don't think there is a more comfortable car.
There are loads of them here in SF. I've seen at least 3 SM's here, one lives (or lived) a few blocks from me (brown). Another was on at least 2 Melee's (gold), and I see another tooling around town every so often (light green). Not to mention all the DS's and 2CV's. We even had an XM show up to the last Pedal Pusher's Rally (along with a DS21). I've also seen a CX Pallas here. They're around.
Not in SF but saw a beauty at Spa Francorochamps Italday. Reminded me of driving way back on French Autoroutes when you'd see lights flashing miles back before you could see anything (they must have had telescopes), you'd move over, and one would come whooshing by at 200kph+.
I won't be calling your reference, as I have no bone to pick nor interest in buying an SM. I was providing a historical perspective. Also, assuming that this shop has devised a variety of intelligent mods that improve the reliability, it does not mean that all or even many SM's have these mods or have easy access to having them done. The primary "eater" that I recall was the single-row timing chain and the long and expensive job to replace it every so often. I seem to recall that Maserati finally introduced a double row chain that improved things, but we still had cylinder heads off with some regularity, as well as clutches, etc. We never had to do a full overhaul, as it was easier and actually less expensive to just buy an outright new engine and drop it in. Not an option today, of course.
The SM is one of my all-time favorite cars. I just wouldn't want to live with one today.
I actually went to look at one and briefly drove it. It wouldnt go in first or second gear and the brakes were not working right (the big green puddle on top of the transaxle likely had something to do with that). It is really a very nice car though, and it doesnt look as complicated and scary to work on as i would have expected. The very fast ratio steering is pretty interesting as well.
When I consider the complexity of modern cars and how it may well be impossible to restore something built today in, for discussion, 20 or 30 years, it occurs to me that the Citroen SM may have been the first to fit this category.
There is nothing on most pre-1980 cars that can't be bashed back into shape, fabricated from new, or borrowed from a similar vehicle. When I look under the hood or dash of my 2009 Mazda, I realize that once it is used up, it is gone, even assuming it had real collector's value, which it doesn't.
The SM has collector value. It was a breakthrough car in its day. However, there are so many totally unique parts on it that a weary car would likely be beyond any reasonable efforts at restoration. Sure, maybe Jay Leno's shop could handle it, but for us mere mortals? Not likely.
We've probably got another decade of scrounging used parts before they become unsupportable. I wish I'd had one back in the day. Magnificent vehicle.
SM World and also Citroen Concours in San Diego. The two are not the best of friends, but both very experienced. The guys in SDiego have a few gorgeous SM's, both rebuilt and and original for sale. The family ran a Citroen garage in Vancouver years ago, the father.. Hank...probably late 80's now, a classic old mechanic and the two sons that run the updated business.
As Don said, not for the faint of heart, still require quality attention.
I had a small stable of two DS's and one SM for a while.. sold the SM when I added up the parts to get it back up to 'average' and haven't looked back. Kept a DSpecial that has been a blast to learn/work on/drive.
Pics from a Saratoga, NY meet..