Question of the Day: Should My Friend Buy a Citroen SM?

Jonny Lieberman
by Jonny Lieberman
question of the day should my friend buy a citroen sm

So, like most of you, I spend a lot of time talking about cars with my friends when it's time for them to buy. Talking with a dear friend of mine who has $20,000 to spend, I ran through my usual you're-not-a-car-person holy trinity of Honda Fit/Mazda 3/Subaru Impreza — cars I believe achieve the perfect balance of cost, reliability and fun to drive. But in regard to that last point, while they are fun to drive, they ain't that fun. She inquired about Audis and Volkswagens. Der Germans would mean used and I can't in good faith advise a dear friend to get a use Audi/VW, can I? BMW? Well, I told her, you could get a lotta BMW for $20,000, but you could also be burning wheel bearings and frying ECUs (or whatever other weird gremlins 50,000 mile BMWs develop). The conversation went on for a bit, and then I showed her a 1972 Citoren SM (see photo) I've been tracking on eBay Motors for a few days. $9,000. Lifetime California car. Well maintained, no rust and the hydraulics work. 3 owners. Life is short. SM stands for "Sport Maserati." It has a Maserati engine. You kinda need to own a car like this once in your life. She's single, no children and she can afford it. And the $11,000 she saves will keep a couple of French and Italian mechanics fat and drunk off table wine for a few years to come. What do you think?

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4 of 72 comments
  • Bunkie Bunkie on Aug 19, 2008

    For a moment there, I thought I had somehow been misdirected to Jalopnik...

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Aug 19, 2008

    When people ask me what car to get, I ask them what they want out of a car. If she hasn't said anything to indicate that she might be interested in such a car, I don't think so. And if she has, she needs to balance the other attributes she wants in a car against the amount of reliability she wants. My guess is that 999,999/1,000,000 would not choose the Citroen. Chances are, she's in the majority. (and I like the Citroen.)

  • Whatsanobeen Whatsanobeen on Aug 19, 2008

    If your friend is looking for a classic that's going to run as smooth as a Camry, then this is not a good idea. If the friend has a passion for Citroen and its quirky-chic ways and is fully aware of the maintenance costs it may incur, then ignore all of the US market cars and try to find a Europe-imported model. The NHTSA of the '70s sucked some of the revolutionary features of the SM out, like the swiveling headlamps which were replaced with four stationary (and ugly) headlamps. The 5-MPH federally-mandated bumpers (also ugly) were also added on to the US market SM.

  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Aug 19, 2008

    Doit. Do it.