the car junkie daily magazine.


French Art: Jay Leno Rolls Out His 1972 Citroën SM For A Review

French Art: Jay Leno Rolls Out His 1972 Citroën SM For A Review

I first saw one of these rotting away in a woodline near Sequim, Washington. The shape, from the front to the back, was something I hadn’t seen before…the nose looked dramatic, the roofline looked weird and the tail end looked pinched. I didn’t know what it was then, but I learned later on and I could not believe that a car so exotic was left to rot and rust under a layer of algae. The Citroën SM was one of the the most radical machines to be cranked out anywhere, let alone from a French company. It was a car aimed at the upper echelon of automobiles…Mercedes, Jensens, Cadillacs and the like. In France, it was luxurious beyond luxurious. In America, it was a foreign car so innovative that it had a lot of issues with American laws. The six-headlight system with the ability to turn with the front wheels were illegal, as were the headlight glass covers. The bumpers wouldn’t meet a height requirement due to the adjustable hydro-penumatic suspension system that would self-level. Yet they made a splash when they landed in the States, with the SM earning Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year” award for 1972 based upon recommendations made by a judging panel that included racer Phil Hill.

Odd-looking, but certainly worth mentioning. Nobody knew anything about the car when I first started asking about it, and even today I have to reference past materials…or you could just let Jay Leno talk about his 1972 model that you’ve seen in the background of many of his videos.

  • Share This
  • Pinterest
  • 0

3 thoughts on “French Art: Jay Leno Rolls Out His 1972 Citroën SM For A Review

  1. Matt Cramer

    I once had a Citroen owner – although I think he had a DS rather than an SM – tell me how he got a parking ticket from a very confused police officer. The officer couldn’t find any nameplate on the car, couldn’t recognize the car, and so the ticket ended up with the make and model filled out as “Cream colored, egg shaped spaceship car.” Well, that did make it pretty clear what car was being ticketed.

  2. Pete231

    SM is definitely the appropriate sobriquet for this car. One look at the hydraulic suspension and its layout will confirm the fact that anyone who tries to affect repairs on this abomination is a sado-masochist of the first order. This self-propelled French hydraulic oil leak is in a class by itself. There’s not enough swear words in the English language to adequately profane this Gallic monstrosity. The USAAF should have bombed this factory into oblivion back in WWII when we had the chance. Leno, send it off to the crusher and make the world a better place. And, don’t get me started on that steaming pile 90 deg. V-6 Maserati engine that powered the piece of crap. One word : Landfill ! And, the sooner, the better…………

    1. Benoit

      There are no problem with the suspension or the cars, or production would not have lasted over 60 years on so many models. There are however, around the world, mechanics who can’t figure out cars that are different. Keep to what you know may be? I did extensive road and track tests for Citroen with the XM and our only problem was with one type of transmission that was under development. These cars were pre-series models, driven 16 hours a day, two shifts, in all types of simulations with only one purpose, wear them out. That’s what we were doing, just driving them hard but not like race cars.

Comments are closed.