Since the early 60s Citroën had worked on ‘Project S’ – a sporty version of the revolutionary DS. The sedate engine of DS, had this, otherwise fine car’s weakness since its introduction. The acquisition of the threatened closure Maserati in 1968, gave one stroke Citroën full access to the Italian engine technology that was needed to produce a true high-class Grand Tourer. Giulio Alfieri Maserati was among few months to deliver an engine.
Alfieri made a little jewel. Tipo C114 engine has 4 overhead, chain-driven camshafts. Engine block of aluminum is only 33 centimeters long! It is at 2.7 liters and something so unusual that a 90-degree V6. It gives the car a very distinctive motor sound at idle, which grows so well known to howl at high revs, typical of Italian thoroughbred motors with roots in racing sport. This compact power plant gave the car a top speed of 220 km / h. Not the absolute fastest time, but very quickly. It is impressive that era, however, was the car’s ability to maintain 200 km / h, hour after hour, without either the driver or the car was at least tired.
A refined version of the hydropneumatic suspension of the DS was a incomparable comfort feature. It was also greatly contributed to a superb short braking distance, which still impresses today. And with a quick grip could be switched from low cutting motorway flight for maximum ground clearance, so the considerate SM owner could climb a French poodle, without the tripping of Mademoiselle Chanel suit ever noticed that Fi-Fi just was overflown by an intergalactic spaceship.
The most remarkable technical innovation in the SM, however, was the car’s speed-dependent power steering. Something new at the time and only now gaining ground in modern cars. Servo provides great help in parking maneuvers and high drag at high speed. Steering with only 2 revolutions in the oval steering wheel from stop to stop, delivers razor sharp indstyring cornering. So this is two Ground Control Major Tom: Very powerful brakes operated with a sensitive rubber ball, which makes it off the brake pedal, a special suspension that causes the car to sit a little back, not forward, and ‘Sneeze and Crash’ management, it makes a retraining in basic driving techniques imperative, in Space Odyssey ‘back to the future’.
The 6 separate front: 2 dipped-beam headlamps, 2 remote lighting and cornering lamps 2, which deals with the front wheels and the vibration ground state instead of the field opposite, all hidden behind a Plexiglas enclosure, is to give the car a futuristic appearance. The sumptuous design is followed right to the door of an equally opulent Art Deco inspired cabin.
Citroën Sport Maserati was a sophisticated car. And there is no reason to try to explain away that it is still. This should not deter the slightly more experienced classic or Citroën enthusiast from a closer acquaintance. An SM is far better than its undeserved reputation as unreliable, difficult and complicated. The engine has 2 weak points which are, or should be rectified at an SM still running today. Kædestrammeren on primary forkæde replaced with a stronger type to handle vibration at low revs in 90 degree V6 engine. Oliepumpens shaft was weak in the first engines and switched to a stronger type. Both modifications were already made in the late cohorts. The hydro-pneumatic suspension is in fact entitled robust and is known from recent models of a any Citroen mechanic. Together with a relatively sensible part situation and a major international forum of SM enthusiasts, an SM can keep running without the need for convergence between the car’s model designation and the owner’s sexual preferences. The important thing is to get a car that has not stood still in many years, the hydraulics can not suffer. An SM should be used not to grow together.