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Wednesday, December 14, 2022

This queen of the road has a gorgeous French body, and fierce Italian drivetrain

~Special Queen~ If some time ago it was discussed about the King of the Road. So it feels incomplete, if there is a king, of course there must be a queen. So in the following we will discuss a beautiful car that deserves to have the title of the Queen of the Road.
The Citroën SM was born to respond to media criticism of the performance of the previous Citroën DS which was considered to be underpowered. (Picture from: Wikipedia)
You must be familiar or at least have heard of the French brand Citroën right? Well, the French car brand has long been famous for its comfort, even for some considered to be too sophisticated in its era. Imagine, the Citroën car model has and adopts several features that have never been implemented before by other brands.
The Citroën SM designed by Robert Opron, and was first shown to the public at the Geneva Motor Show 1970. (Picture from: TheGaspol)
For example, its pneumatic hydractive system is described as a hydraulic suspension system on each wheel that is integrated with the braking system and steering system. One of the advantages of this system is being able to adjust the height of the car by operating only one lever.
The Citroën SM was the fastest front-wheel-drive car, with a factory-quoted top speed of 220 kph (137 mph), and independent tests achieving as much as 235 kph (146 mph). (Picture from: TheGaspol)
Furthermore, you must be familiar with the Maserati name right? That's one of the Italian automaker which is famous for its superior engine power and stability in its handling. So what happens if the comfort of the Citroën is mated with the ruthlessness of Maserati engine? The answer is Citroën SM.
1971 Citroën SM Espace produced by Heuliez as many as 2 units, which was fitted with a two-part roof which retracted into a central bar to provide the necessary rigidity. (Picture from: Drives.Today)
This Citroën SM car was born to respond to media criticism of the performance of the Citroën DS which was considered to be underpowered. This car was first shown to the public at the Geneva Motor Show 1970, from its appearance, the car which was the result of the design work of Robert Opron immediately captivated the eyes of the visitors and the media who attended and covered the auto expo.
1971 Citroën SM Espace by Heuliez has cratered seats are couch-comfortable and the ceiling lights along the central T-bar are pure boudoir’. (Picture from: Citroenet.org.uk)
Not only that, this beautiful 3-door hatchback coupé was powered by a 2.7 liter V6 Maserati engine created by Maserati's Chief Constructor at the time, Giulio Alfieri under the engine hood. If then you are wondering, how could it be happened? This was possible because Citroën had acquired about 60% of Maserati's shares in 1967.
1972 Citroën SM Présidentielle model was first driven by Georges Pompidou and Queen Elizabeth II. (Picture from: Wikipedia)
With such combination, the Citroën SM was able to reach a top speed of 220 kph which at the same time made it to be the fastest front-wheel drive car in the world at that time. It's such perfect combination of the beautiful design and ruthless engine has earned the Citroën SM a nickname from the French media as 'la reine de la route' or 'Queen of the Road'.
1972 Citroën SM "Breadvan" shown at the 2011 LM Story, Circuit Bugatti, Le Mans. (Picture from: Wikipedia)
This nickname is not an exaggeration because the Citroën SM was ranked third of the 1971 European Car of the Year and was in the top position of the 1972 Motor Trend Car of the Year in America. Besides that, this gorgeous grand tourer is also equipped with various kinds of advanced technology in its time, such as a hydro-pneumatic suspension system that can adjust the height of the suspension independently.
1972 Citroën SM aportscar concept by Italian coachbuilder Frua that closely resembled the mid-engined Maserati Merak. (Picture from: Wikipedia)
Coupled with the main light beam direction system which is integrated with the steering system, where the direction of the light will follow the direction of the steering wheel. Not only that, there are other examples such as the application of a steering system called DIRAVI (Direction à rappel asservi), which is able to return the steering wheel to the center position without the driver's hands. This system was first introduced by Citroën in 1970 and is now a standard system in various cars around the world.
1974 Citroën SM Opéra sedan version built by the Levallois-Perret based coachbuilder, Henry Chapron, as many as 7 (seven) units. (Picture from: Wikipedia)
During its lifetime, the Citroën SM not only appeared in the Coupé version, at that time it was also present in several very collectible variants, such the Citroën SM présidentielle (2 units) and the Mylord Cabriolet models which were the creation of the famous coachbuilder, Henri Chapron. Reportedly, only about 5 (five) SM MyLords were produced and sold due to its high price at that time, which was almost double the price of the coupé version of the Citroën SM and almost close to the price of the Ferrari Daytona at that time.
1975 Citroën SM Mylord Cabriolet by Henry Chapron (only 5 units) while on display at the 2014 Retromobile auto show. (Picture from: Wikipedia)
Reportedly, 1 of the Citroën SM Mylord Cabriolets was sold at Artcurial with the highest bidder for €548,320 or around Rp.8.1 billion in 2014. It's a fitting number for a beautiful wheeled artwork nicknamed the Queen of the Road. Beside the Mylord Cabriolet, the Levallois-Perret based coachbuilder also known to build 7 (seven) sedans called Citroën SM Opéra.
1975 Citroën SM Mylord Cabriolet by Henry Chapron has a luxurious cabin layout, and the seats covered by genuine leather. (Picture from: TheGaspol)
In 1971, Heuliez produced two examples of pillarless targa top convertible called the Citroën SM Espace which has a uniqueness that distinguishes it from the factory SM, the rear quarter windows could retract into the bodywork. Then, before the SM production was demissed, this French manufacturer had produced several short-wheelbase racing versions with squared-off rear sections and highly tuned engines knowns as the "breadvan" model.
This is a 2.7 liter V6 Maserati engine created by Maserati's Chief Constructor at the time, Giulio Alfieri to power the Citroën SM. (Picture from: TheGaspol)
Then in several countries such as England, they also had time to build three official RHD prototypes by Middleton Motors (at least one of these prototypes still survives), then in Australia, 12 cars were converted to RHD by Chappel Engineering in Melbourne, meanwhile in the US. 100 cars were fitted with an electric sliding steel sunroof built by ASC. Not only that, there was a concept car built on the basis on the SM by Italian coachbuilder Frua, the result of which was a front-wheel-drive sportscar that closely resembled the mid-engined Maserati Merak.
One of 1975 Citroën SM Mylord Cabriolet by Henry Chapron was sold at an auction in 2014 for €548,320 (US$754,220). (Picture from: TheGaspol)
As quoted of Wikipedia, the French company produced the Citroën SM during 1970 to 1975 in total of 12,920 units. It was recorded that several famous people in the 1970s such as Georges Pompidou, Leonid Brezhnev, Shah of Iran, Haïlé Sélassié, Johan Cruyff and Jay Leno were the lucky ones to own a Citroën SM. Even Daniel Craig is still dreaming to have one Citroën SM inside his personal garage.
And just when it seemed that the unique model might actually see the light of day, the unexpected happened. Further development of the car was stopped by the bankruptcy of the Citroën brand, then it was acquired by Groupe PSA, and the Maserati marque released to Alejandro De Tomaso. Since the Citroën SM V8 project was being developed at the Maserati factory, automatically the project should be terminated.😢 *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | DYLER | WIKIPEDIA | DRIVES.TODAY ]
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