Pick Up A Well-Priced SM While You Still Can
The SM is unquestionably one of the most special cars ever built, combining Citroën’s incredible oleo-pneumatic suspension, unique and beautiful Robert-Opron-penned styling, and an exotic, quad-cam Maserati V6 heart.
Citroën built less than 13,000 SMs between 1970 and 1975, and of that relatively small number, many have either succumbed to the car’s propensity to rust or to improper maintenance and repair—the incredibly complex nature of its engineering means that in 2013 there are perhaps only a handful of mechanics with the necessary skills to properly work on SMs. If you’re prepared to pay exotic car running costs, though, there are few cars as unique and rewarding to drive in this world as a well-cared-for SM.
Click here for a well-written and thorough buyer’s guide that you may want to take a close look at in order to get a broader idea of what SM custodianship could potentially mean to your wallet.
Market values for the SM have really been on the rise of late, particularly in the past four or five years. Not long ago, one could easily pick up a serviceable and running example for under $10,000—something that may still be possible with a bit of luck and a lot of searching, but a realistic minimum 2013 price of membership in the SM club is $15,000 and up, with well-optioned, pristine and original, or very well-restored examples fetching high $30k to low $40k prices. Cars fitted with the highly-desirable swiveling Euro headlights can command nearly $10,000 extra, while manuals are typically some 30% more valuable than comparable automatic cars. Factory Carbon Fiber wheels (!) and sunroofs can also affect a car’s asking price. As with all cars, particularly 1970s Franco-Italian hybrid supercoupes, it’s best to buy the best one you can afford, as the cost of even a partial restoration could prove financially ruinous for most. Chances are, though, that prices will continue to rise, meaning a nice SM could make a sound long-term investment.
Comparable cars are hard to come by, as the SM is a very individual beast, but similar money can buy any number of equally desirable, if rather more conventional GT cars. Perhaps a nice 911S or a BMW 3.0CS would fit the bill? If you’re after something a little more rarefied, clean Jensen Interceptors are also frequently available at prices occupying the higher end of the SM market—there really are a lot of options in this segment, but if you’ve been wanting an SM there’s likely nothing else that will scratch that very particular itch.
A long-term relationship with an SM is never going to be a low-maintenance affair, but like all difficult things in life, the reward is proportionate to the effort put forth—by that measure, the SM surely ranks as one of the most potentially rewarding classic cars on Earth.
Click here to check out vintage Citroëns offered for sale on eBay.