‘Project S’ emerged from Citroën’s requirement to develop a sports variant of the revolutionary DS. As was customary for the quirky French firm, many running concept vehicles were developed with increasingly complex and upmarket features to differentiate the ‘sports’ project from the popular DS. The acquisition of Maserati by Citroën in 1968 was motivated by the possibility of harnessing Maserati’s high-performance engine technology to produce a true Grand Tourer, combining the sophisticated Citroën suspension with the power of a Maserati V6.
The result was the Citroën SM, which was first shown to rapturous appreciation at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1970. It went on sale in France in September of that year in left-hand drive only, although right-hand drive conversions were later offered in the UK and Australia. The SM was Citroën’s flagship vehicle, competing with other high-performance GTs of the time from manufacturers such as Jaguar, Lotus, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo and Porsche. It was also Citroën’s way of demonstrating just how much power and performance could be accommodated in a front-wheel drive design. As an example of Citroën’s optimism and progressive technology, the SM was untouchable, and similarities drawn by pundits of the day to the design and futurism of aircraft such as Concorde cemented the love affair still borne by car aficionados today.
Amazingly this time warp example has had just one private owner from new, his Excellency Abdulrahman Al Helacee, the former Saudi Ambassador to London. It is believed that he was gifted the car in 1972 by a very senior member of the Parisian establishment. We have a bill of sale made out to Al Helacee from Citroen in Paris, dated 4th February 1972, which shows the car was ordered from new with a cigar lighter, modern hi-fi stereo and electric aerial, air conditioning and tinted windows. Delivered to new to London SW1, the car was priced at FF43,180. The car resided with the Ambassador at his London residence in Eaton Square and was used regularly for a number of years, racking up just over 20,000 kilometres before being placed into storage for the remainder of his lifetime. His Excellency passed away more recently, and the Citroen has been looked after by a close friend who has since decided the car should be offered to the open market. In the intervening period the car has been kept dry stored, is complete, and as such provides an excellent basis for restoration.
Supplied with a host of original documentation such as the original bill of sale, registration papers, warranty cars, books and manuals, and is offered in additional with a UK V5 document, this is a fantastic opportunity to obtain a genuine unmolested one owner SM.