1971 Citroen SM

Photos provided by the seller

The Highlights

  • Body and interior never restored yet in amazing condition
  • Major service done at 62,000 km including valves and chains
  • Previously owned by a trained Citroën mechanic
  • Driven 3,000 km from Portugal to Croatia
  • Desirable carburettor example
  • Very period combination of Brun Scarabée over Tan
  • Only 2 previous owners from new! 

The Appeal

When the 1964 demise of Facel Vega left France without a flagship luxury car in a time when British Jaguars, American Cadillacs and German Mercedes were proudly flying their nations’ banners the world over, Citroën decided that it would rise to fill the gap. It already had a reputation for innovation through its limousines, particularly the paradigm-shifting DS with its ‘oléopneumatique’ hydraulic system. The one weakness in Citroën’s engineering prowess, however, was high-performance engines. 

Having failed to develop an air-cooled flat-six in the 1950s, the DS was thus saddled with four-cylinder Traction Avant units from the 1930s. Then in the ‘60s Citroën tried to co-develop rotary engines with NSU, only for that effort to falter as well. In the end, the solution was to buy Maserati outright and ask it to cut-down its 4.2 ‘Indy’ V8 to create a 2.7 V6 that would duck under a punishing French emissions tax.

This sonorous new engine was teamed with evolved DS hydraulics (including new fully hydraulic, self-centring ‘DIRAVI’ steering) and a remarkably slippery teardrop shape overseen by Robert Opron, to create the SM for 1970. ‘Serie Maserati’, ‘Sa Majesté’… whatever you think the letters stand for, the car itself stands for avant-garde elegance, otherworldly comfort and efficient long-distance pace.

Shot through with innovation in every area, it was proudly against conventional design and engineering; either you dismiss the wholly unusual GT as too much to understand, or you fall under its spell so deeply that nothing else will do anymore. There isn’t really room for anything in between. If you do understand it, then step this way and never look back – because this one’s a prime example ready to be driven on a regular basis.

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The History and Paperwork

  • Only two previous owners from new!
  • Originally delivered in France, imported to Portugal in the early 1990s
  • Original owner’s manual included
  • Owned by a classic car collector in Croatia
  • Current owner bought it at 62,000km, has now done 71,000km
  • MOT-equivalent certificate valid until November 2022
  • Complete file of service history including recent history with independent specialist, previous work also carried out at home by a former owner who worked as a Citroën mechanic



The Interior

  • All original upholstery
  • Very good condition throughout
  • Toolkit and spare wheel present and correct
The original, softly padded tan leather upholstery throughout the interior presents very well, with what the seller considers “excellent patina,” as it wears its 51 years lightly yet honestly with minor wrinkles in the seats, but no tears or holes anywhere to be found. The headliner and dashboard are themselves in excellent condition, as are the polished metal sill trims. Even the carpeting has survived well with no serious blemishes and only minor discolouration apparent in places.

The seller does note that, while the optional power windows and all the dashboard electronics work, the air conditioning drive belt was (for reasons unknown) not reconnected after the alternator belt was replaced, meaning that the system currently lays dormant. All in all, though, this stylish and sumptuous interior wants for very little, if anything.

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The Exterior

  • Paint has previously been restored
  • Wheels and tyres in good condition
  • Spotless brightwork
The silken ‘Brun Scarabée’ paintwork has in recent years been refreshed to give it its lustre back, and since then it has only undergone minor paint wear during thousands of kilometres out and about. You would have to get up close to notice, though, as there are no heavy stone chips or scratches to be seen and the characteristic glass covers up front are unmarked.

The rest of the exterior brightwork presents flawlessly – even the chrome grille bars under the front bumper aren’t bent out of shape as can often be the case.

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The Mechanicals

  • Recently refreshed valves and chains
  • Desirable five-speed manual gearbox
  • No faults in the hydraulic system
This SM has previously had work done on the engine’s valves (on both cylinder heads) and chains, which means that the most common engine problems on the 190hp 2.7 Maserati V6 have already been dealt with. This, in combination with regular specialist maintenance, leaves the winning bidder with a dependable mile munching companion.

No issues are reported in the suspension, brakes or steering (all hydraulic) and the car is said to drive faultlessly. These cars, like their DS brethren, need to be driven regularly to keep the green LHM juices flowing correctly, so the fact that this car has some decent mileage and proof of regular maintenance is definitely a good thing in reliability terms.

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Summary


 2020 marked 50 years since this much revered model’s debut and yet it still looks and drives like nothing else on the road. The seller is a committed enthusiast who only has to let go of this gorgeous SM for a recent lack of opportunities to drive it as it competes with four other Citroëns for his attention.

It is nevertheless ready to drive at the drop of a hat and just an a/c belt away from being a flawless example of a car that offers a peerlessly serene grand touring experience. Even as the two brands have ended up under the same umbrella again with the creation of Stellantis Group, it’s safe to say there will never be another Citroën-Maserati GT – certainly not one quite like this, anyway.

Notice to bidders
This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only. Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.
A non-refundable buyer’s deposit is payable on this item, refer to FAQs and T&Cs for the applicable percentage.
All bidding, buying and offers are subject to our Terms and Conditions.

Please see our FAQs here and our Terms & Conditions here

Auction FAQs
Auction Details
  • Year 1971
  • Make Citroen
  • Model SM
  • Colour Brun Scarabée
  • Mileage 71,000 Kilometres
  • Engine size 2675
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Moordrecht
  • Country Netherlands
  • Auction ends
Bidding history
34 Bids
  • ben-hug•••• €47,500 03/03/23
  • Craigpl•••• €47,250 03/03/23
  • Craigpl•••• €47,000 03/03/23
  • ben-hug•••• €46,750 03/03/23
  • ben-hug•••• €46,500 03/03/23
  • Craigpl•••• €46,250 03/03/23
  • Craigpl•••• €46,000 03/03/23
  • ben-hug•••• €45,750 03/03/23
  • Craigpl•••• €45,500 03/03/23
  • ben-hug•••• €45,250 03/03/23

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