Wednesday, March 5, 2008
my dream car - the Citroen SM
When I was a teenager my mother bought a 1969 Citroen D Pallas sedan and then added a station wagon a year later - they were both pale blue and we loved them. The hydraulic suspension gave the smoothest ride imaginable and heads turned as the bullet-shaped car would lower for freeway drives and rise back up for the back roads of farmland we lived on. Gas station attendants weren't sure how to open the hood and find the dipstick to check the oil, but changing a tire was easy as you didn't need a jack - you just raised the car up and took the tire off!
On my first trip to Paris in 1983 imagine my delight when all the taxis were old Citroens! Unfortunately the car ceased production for Canadian or US export in the early 70s due I'm told at first to the requirement they have catalytic converters to comply with emission laws.
I love this photo of a Citroen 2cv (deux chevaux ) which literally means two horses in the snow and the Citroen Traction on Place de la Concorde in 1952. I'm told you used to be able to buy a kit for the 2CV and build it yourself! Bay Breads, my favorite French bakery in San Francisco uses one as their mascot and you can often see it parked outside one of their locations.
But my real dream car was the Citroen SM built by Citroen with a Masserati engine very briefly in the early 70s. Queen Elizabeth rode in one when she visited France in the early 90s. I'm told they only like to be driven very fast and you need to be married to a mechanic named Pierre to ensure driving. The convertibles were extremely rare.