Images of trotting driver Björn Goop for Sofiero Beer.
Archives for October 2012
MOST PEOPLE WHO HAVE DRIVEN THIS CAR AGREE. CITROËN SM IS NOT JUST A CAR, BUT A FORM AND TECHNOLOGY STATEMENT BEYOND THE ORDINARY. SM CITROËN HAS CREATED CAR HAUTE COUTURE FOR DEMANDING EUROPOLITIANS AND COSMOPOLITIANS.
CÔTE D’AZUR, a June night in 2000. A gold metallic Citroën zipping through the high-tech cluster Sophia Antipolis stops outside a building of glass and steel. It is one of the last quivering weeks of an IT era in which Europe has been the epicenter. The two young women in the car give each other a perfect kiss before the blonde, completely dressed in Prada, brings out her badge and goes to the software company’s entrance. When the car door opens, the night for a moment fills with Bowie’s Modern Love. Halfway to the door, she stops, taking on the scene. Maybe this is the moment she realized that everything will soon be gone; the venture capital, the digital vision and sense of belonging to the elect, creative class. She shudders and pulls her card through the card reader. Despite everything, she thinks, that which is most important will remain. David Bowie, their love, and the beautiful Citroën SM, le Super Maserati. When Citroën unveiled its new model SM at the Geneva Motor Show in 1970, it was not just the car model they wanted to introduce. Citroën SM was also an industrial policy statement that would restore France’s reputation as a prominent car producer. Citroën was after a time of great acquisitions caught in a precarious economic and creative mode. Both Citroën’s main shareholder, Michelin, and the French Ministry of Industry where concerned. Was the crown jewel in the French Automotive Industry on skid row? When SM le Super Maserati was received with a standing ovation, the company’s manager, lawyer Pierre Bercot, was finally able to breathe, at least temporarily. Citroën was suddenly a player in the top European division among the likes of Mercedes, BMW, and Jaguar. At the head office at the Quai de Javel in southwest Paris, they saw the future; now there would be a new group of customers to win over with the help of superb French design, advanced French technology, and excellent performance. There was little suspicion that the winds of change just a few years later would force most automakers, including Citroën, to have totally different priorities.
SPEED ENTHUSIAST JACQUES NÉ
History of the Citroen DS-model, contest success during the latter part of the 1960s. From the success, the idea was born to build a Super-DS, a Grand Tourer with the world class performance, but appointed with the typical Citroën attributes: Front-wheel drive, hydropneumatic suspension, and a slightly avant-garde brand identity. In 1967, Pierre Bercot gave the go-ahead and Development went to work with the designer and speed enthusiast Jacques Né at the front. Grew did a large, modern two-door Grand Tourer with six intergrated headlights behind a futuristic shaped front of plexi-glass. Responsible for the design was Robert Opron, chief ideologue of Citroën’s new design studio in Velizy, near Versailles. A number of full-scale models with exceptionally low air resistance were built and got the management team´s approval and blessing.
Six months later, in Modena, Italy. Citroën’s private jet lands in the Tuscan summer night. Onboard is Bercot with the mission to sign a cooperation agreement with the troubled Maserati. Bercot and Maserati owners Adolfo Orsi had been discussing cooperation plans since 1965, and these plans could now be embodied in the Citroën SM. This alliance reached its perfection later that year when Citroën took over the stock majority from the Italian family owners. In this way, the engine matter was solved for the new super Citroën. They had access to a 2.7-liter V6 with four overhead camshafts designed by Giulio Alfieri Maserati. This engine, which at that time made the Citroën SM the world’s fastest front wheel drive car, would later be used by Maserati Merak.
As a prospective buyer of a Citroën SM, you can choose between a variety of interior options and colors. How about the post-colonial colors: Vertes des Tropiques, Rouge de Rio, Bleudórinet or Brown Scarabee? Even the interior of Citroën SM breathes avant-garde and innovation. The front seats are evidence of a clear relationship with Maserati—sculptural, yet sensual, mostly dressed in black or natural colored leather, they could be taken from a contemporary issue of Vogue. Despite the fact that the Citroën SM was born with a golden spoon in its mouth, it was never a commercial success. When the model reached the market, it was perceived as being too odd, and the dealers were not used to the new customer segment. When the engines started breaking down it gave Peugeot, Citroën’s new owners, cold feet. At the time of the energy crisis, it was hardly difficult for traditionalists within the Peugeot to argue for the closure of the model. As a consequence, Bercot resigned, and Maserati went into liquidation. Between 1970 and 1975, 12,900 cars were produced.
Some cars give their drivers the feeling that every moment in life is unique. Driving a Citroën SM allows them to experience this feeling, and to the sounds of the Maserati, a disrespectful and crude V6. The car in the pictures is painted in the shade Sable métallisé and is one of a total of 24 sold new in Sweden. The car lives a sheltered life in the hands of an enthusiast who uses it sparingly when season, weather, and desire allow. With its hydropneumatic suspension, high pressure brakes, and its special self-centering steering, it is easy to maneuver and direct in its response to forget both the car’s size that age. Comfortably seated wearing retro designer sunglasses from Yves Saint Laurent, it is easy to turn into Alain Delon in the masterful French-Italian film Le clan des Siciliens, The Sicilian Clan from 1969. Citroen SM performs, and does it with style. Perhaps it was shaped to its beautiful and special character by the encounter between its sophisticated, intellectual French background and by the summer love with Maserati in Italian Costa del Sol.
ENGINE: 90 DEGREE V6 AT A 2670CM³.
MAX POWER: 176 HP.
0-100 KM / H: 8.9 SEK.
MAX SPEED: 200 KM/H.
CURB WEIGHT: 1450 KG.
DRIVE: FRONT WHEEL DRIVE, FRONT ENGINE, 5-speed manual transmission.
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 12.5 l/100KM.
PRICE: PRICE NEW NOT AVAILABLE. PRICE TODAY APPROXIMATELY 150 000 (SEK) AND UP FOR A CAR IN GOOD CONDITION.
TEST DRIVE ANDERS KÅHRSTRÖM PHOTO ERIK HAGMAN