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 citroensm.net written by Rolf Knijff and Clemens
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.
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 <
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.
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 email@example.com
Owners' Club Newsletter
Le Bolide issue #1, February 2001 (PDF
Le Bolide issue #2, March 2001 (PDF
Le Bolide issue #3, April 2001 (PDF
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
6.5 Megs (high speed line recommended)
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Helpful links for buyers and owners: