luni, 25 aprilie 2016

Cheaper alternatives – Citroën CX vs SM - World Of Classic Cars -

What’s not to like about the Citroën SM. Out-of-this-world styling, autobahn-cruising power and the famous Citroën hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension. Well this charismatic French beauty is getting a bit rich for the average classic car lover. But, there is an alternative…

When Citroën bought Maserati in 1968 they set about producing a Gran Turismo, coupling Maserati V6 grunt with sophisticated Citroën suspension. With the SM, launched in 1970, Citroën got it’s first slice of the GT market since WWII – competing with the likes of Jaguar, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lotus.

Unfortunately France’s gas guzzling flagship car landed right in the middle of a world energy crisis! The SM struggled to find a sufficient customer base and in 1975 the last SM rolled off the production line.

Good news though. The SM’s technology was carried forward to the Citroën CX. The CX was launched in 1974 and within months it walked away with the European Car of the Year award. With it’s fastback styling the early CX looks very similar to the SM. In fact one passed me the other day and I had to double-take. It shared the same self-levelling suspension system as the SM – which was also shared by Rolls-Royce and copied by Mercedes for their 450SEL 6.9.

The CX won many rally events, despite Citroën’s poor finances at the time and in the 1977 London-Sydney Marathon road race Paddy Hopkirk stormed from last place to cross the line third.

Nearly 1.2 million CXs were produced in its 16 years of production. All great cars. But for that SM-on-a-budget feeling go for the early cars. Mid 70’s CX 20s start at around £5K for a good one and I promise it’ll turn as many heads as an SM.