Citröen SM (1) … The French-Italian connection 🇫🇷©️🇮🇹
(1971, Citröen SM ...The short story – extracts: The Citroën SM (produced between 1970-1975) was designed “in-house” by Citroën's chief designer, Robert Opron.
Since the early 60s, Citroën had been working on a new flagship: “Project S” – a sporting GT version of their fantastic Citröen DS. But the more sedately engine in the Citröen DS had been that car's “weakness” since its introduction … and the acquisition of Maserati, in 1967/68, gave Citroën the full access to the Italian engine technology needed to produce a “true sporty GT” model.
The Italian car engineer, Giulio Alfieri, formerly employed by Maserati, got the assignment (this might explain why the car was called “SM” -> “Sport Maserati”) and he made a little compact engine jewel: Tipo 114 ... which was based on Maserati Indy's V8. He then developed an all-alloy, 4-cyl DOHC (double overhead camshaft), 90° V6. In its 3.0-litre and 220 hp form it served Maserati's mid-engined sports car Merak, but for the Citröen SM its capacity was reduced to 2,670cc in order to fit in a lower tax category in France (tax regulations known as “Puissance Fiscale”). The result was 170 hp with topspeed of app. 225 km/h. Though later, power was raised to 178 hp by the adoption of fuel injection. A 3.0-litre engine with 180 hp was used only for the SM equipped with 3-speed automatic.
It actually borrowed features from the innovations introduced on the Citröen DS, e.g. by including the hydro-pneumatic self-leveling suspension (also known as “oleo pneumatic” suspension; the purpose of this system is to provide a sensitive, dynamic and high-capacity suspension that offers superior ride quality on a variety of surfaces) – as well as its enclosed 6 headlights (2 near-headlights, 2 headlamps and 2 headlights at each side) which turned with the steering (except in the US where these were illegal at the time). Overall the design gave the car a kind of “futuristic” look exterior wise and a kind of an “Art Deco” look interior wise … and the Citroën SM ended up being probably one of the most “visually engaging” classic cars of the 20th century).