Ever wanted the title as owner of the world's fastest Citroën?
Perfect entry for real-life Whacky Races...
Citroën has contributed a few mildly decent vehicles to the world, but none as amazing as the DS and SM. The DS was a technological marvel in itself, incorporating massive amounts of atypical styling and trying its best to say, "Screw social norms, I'm headed to Canada." In fact, had the DS been a person, its name would be Henry Thoreau and it too would go live in a shed in the middle of the woods for two years, two months, and two days before finally realizing society is too indistinguishable. Again, it was the styling that really set the DS on a different runway from the rest of the aircraft it was trying to embody. Really, the only thing the DS did rely on society for was the idea of big.
Despite the DS challenging the definition of normal, it wasn't really that great of a car. It's largest drawback was its power, or rather, the lack of it. The largest complaint with the DS was the fact that it could hardly get out of its own way. Although it only weighed a little over a ton, carrying around all the weight was a weak and puny 2.2L inline-four. Capable of only 100 horsepower, speed was the last thing in mind, and although not all luxury cars need to be fast per se, you might need to overtake a tractor every now and again on your way home from work.
And then, at the mercy of those devoted to love the DS, came the SM: a car devoted to making an equivalent impact as the DS, but with a bit more pep in it's step.
Yeah, that's an SM. Don't expect them to all look like this though...
At the time of the Beetles and hotboxing vans came the near death of a beloved Italian marque. Maserati was in tatters in the late 1960's and needed a serious resurrection. Eventually, it was Citroën that would come to their aid. With the purchase of Maserati in 1968 came quick changes to Citroën's famous DS. Soon, the problem of speed was solved with none other than a Maserati V6. With this, the glorious DS got even better and, although reliability soon became an issue after the fact, it was able to become one of the greatest weirdos in history. And so the story goes...
Obviously, the aerodynamic presence of both cars was immense. You could almost imagine that rather than calling objects "sleek" back in the day, everyone would replace it with "SM." With styling as slippery as a well-oiled tumble dryer, it seemed to many as if even a Maserati V6 wasn't enough. And by a few people I mean the employees at SM World in Valencia, California.
Starting out with a scrapyard-bound SM, Jerry Hathaway and his team were able to create this stunningly brown Land-Speed Record car. Part one of their build was the fitment of a faster and more capable engine. Ditching the old 2.7, they added a newer 3.0L Maserati V6 with a broader displacement and more room for modifications.
The source of all the madness...
At first, the car with slight modifications was able to reach 139.7 MPH at El Mirage dry lakebed in Arizona and 151.2 MPH at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. These first few runs, with Jerry's wife Sylvia at the wheel, served as just the start of their adventures with this car, and only proved that their work was anything but done.
Of course, with this much style hammering down a straight line, there needed to be equal amounts of style in transportation. And the only way to match the style of an SM was with an SM, so boom: SM pickup. Also built by SM World, the pickup was fabricated in such a way that it could tow the SM-like gooseneck trailer. Apart from that however, the pickup is a functional and road-legal SM that you can haul a refrigerator, or three, with. But wait, there's more!
The duo of stunning custom SMs was known simply as "The Rig." How cool is that!
It may have seemed as if everything was all fine and dandy at this time, only they knew that this car could go faster. In order to make this thing the fastest Citroën in the world, two turbochargers were added capable of an additional 20 PSI of boost. This not only allowed for this car to become the fastest Citroën ever built, but also one capable of breaking the 200 MPH barrier.
And so it did.
Eat that, Bonneville.
With just the addition of twin-turbos, this once elegant beast quickly turned into a salt-eating savage that could reach speeds greater than an Audi R8! Mind you, this was also on slat. Had we seen this devilish machine on asphalt, it's 202 MPH record would be thrashed through quicker than you could say "Citroën."
Overall, this piece of machinery was really just an experiment of what a super aerodynamic French car with an Italian heart is capable of. If you really think about it, those French dudes over at Citroën were on the brink of creating a mere sportscar, let alone a near supercar. Yes, there were obviously some serious modifications that needed to be completed before this car could breach the 200 MPH mark, but the workload wasn't too bad. At least, as far as we know.
If this type of thing is pulling at your heart strings, you may be in luck. Currently, this trio of SM sophistication is being auctioned off virtually with the infamous Gooding and Company auction house. All three vehicles are being sold as one lot, and even better, they are at no reserve! Granted, reserve or not, expect to be singing to the tune of a couple hundred thousand dollars. either way, you will be able to own a true engineering marvel towed by an engineering marvel on a trailer using parts from the same engineering marvel. And of course, you'll also get the title to one of the most obscure yet most interesting pieces of automotive history anywhere. So, the least you could do is think about it...