Buying an SM
Real experiences from a real buyer
enjoy the ride!

What follows is my trek through three Citroen SMs to find an affordable, working car.

I'm 42 years old. I have a daughter about to start college.
So WHY am I thinking of buying a Citroen SM?
Because for the past 17 years, it's the ONLY car I've ever wanted, and 25 years is long enough to wait for the best car ever made.



Started in June 2000.
Researched web links especially a dutch-based site rich in links by Toine Moors,
an excellent Dutch resource called written by Rolf Knijff and Clemens Maas,
and the two highly regarded California repair services.
Did weekly, then daily research on web auction sites, focusing on E-bay's citroen-only category.
Held off on actual bidding until I had cash in hand, nobody wants to "win" and car then not be able to pay for it.

December 2000
Found my car. A gold SM in California. Send some money to a nice lady and here's the car:

> View other photos from the prior owner <

Next step:


This is serious stuff. Few individuals in the US know or understand this car well enough to fix it properly. The two best qualified (from my research) in the US are both in California, they would be SM World outside of Los Angeles and CCA in San Diego.

Click here to see what a preliminary estimate looks like:

And that's where I was this time last year.

The car went from it's former owner to SM World, where Jerry Hathaway and his expert staff would work on the car.

Found out that the stainless steel tailpipes are expensive and hard to source. Located some at Andrew Brodie Engineering in the UK, good source for new old stock (and repairs, if you're in England). Also learned from a french web site that the front and rear windshields were not well glued and prone to leaks. Sure enough, there's rust inside my steering column, possibly from rainwater.

February 8, 2001: mailed some money to Bob at My Big Tow to bring the car over to Jerry's garage. Bob knows all about Citroens and their special needs.
His telephone number is 818 897-2425. Use care when calling: the number patches into his cellphone and he makes his living driving on Los Angeles freeways.
February 15: Car delivered to Jerry at SM World.

September 2001 Update:

Eight grand is too much money to fix a car, even an SM. Sorry, folks - I'm not a rich man. So I sold the car on ebay (taking a $2000 loss) and bought this white beauty, also in California:


Bob the towing expert will fetch it this week (January 2002) and run it over to Jerry & Sylvia Hathaway. Once I have their mechanical blessing, it's off on a cross country trip from California to Florida.

April 2002 update:

Well then. A restoration can take a while, can't it? Particularly when it's measured in years instead of months.

The car was transported to SM World in January. Cost of a total cosmetic restoration is consirable and also beyond my means. This car restoration business is a sickness of sorts, we become irrational and fail to see reason, particularly when it comes to money.

In the financial foreground are my little girl's upcoming college tuition bills, which precludes devoting significant resources to this car.

Next week the car goes to a local high school where a Citroen-savvy mechanic will play with it for the rest of the school year with his auto mechanics class. Kids get to fool with an exotic engine and possibly learn a few things. They may well wreck sensitive components in the process but I've made it clear that the car is there at my own risk. In my view the educational benefit outweighs my risk. Jeff Fenema in Chicago is sending the school a complete set of Citroen SM shop manuals for reference.

At the end of the school year, if the engine turns over, I'll fly out to California and drive the car to Miami where I can complete cosmetic restoration here on my own time.

This is the low-budget route, folks. Experience suggests it's a very short road. Keep posted.

July 2002 update:

Manolo and his kids got the car running, engine is very smooth, transmission shifts gracefully. One of the spheres is leaking so I'll probably replace all of them. I'll let the kids play with the car through the fall semester then possibly fly out around New Year's to drive it back to Florida.

May 2003 update:

Car's working nicely, engine's been cleaned out and tuned, tranny shifts smoothly. Manny and his kids built a stainless steel gasket and fixed the leaking sphere. The red Stop light on the dash illuminates when the brakes are applied; I'm told that this may be due to air in the brake lines. Selling the car on ebay; the money goes straight to my daughter's education.

December 2004

The car went to a buyer in Germany who is familiar with SMs and will no doubt give this car the attention it deserves.

Comments to

Southeast Citroën Owners' Club Newsletter

Le Bolide issue #1, February 2001 (PDF file)

Le Bolide issue #2, March 2001 (PDF file)

Le Bolide issue #3, April 2001 (PDF file)

Le Bolide issue #4, May 2001 (PDF file)

Le Bolide issue #5, Summer 2001 (PDF file)

Le Bolide issue #6, Sept/Oct 2001 (PDF file)

Le Bolide issue #7, Nov/Dec 2001 (PDF file)

Le Bolide issue #8, Summer 2002 (PDF file)

Le Bolide issue #9, Spring 2002 (PDF file)

Recent actual sales data from Ebay auctions
Excel file
6.5 Megs (high speed line recommended)

For the CD version please email to

Helpful links for buyers and owners: