The convertible version of the exquisite gran-tourer is known as the Citroen SM Mylord. While the SM’s innovative solutions and distinctive design, combined with the sheer rarity of the vehicle may, indeed, instill a sense of nobility in the few lucky owners, it’s also one of the most outrageous, but awesome car names we have ever heard. While the initial design of the Citroen SM was penned by French automotive designer, Robert Opron, the SM Mylord cabriolet was built by coachbuilder Henri Chapron, based in Levallois-Perret, Paris. Chapron took a standard Citroen SM cut the roof, strengthened the chassis, and added a standard trunk lid, as opposed to the standard SM’s hatchback.
The convertible only got the “small” engine
The Citroen SM made its debut in 1970. At the time, Citroen owned 60 percent of Maserati, which is why the SM benefitted from Maserati’s V-6 engine. Two versions, a 2.7-liter and 3.0-liter, were offered on the SM. In 1971, a year after the Sm debuted, the SM Mylord was introduced. The open-top variant got only the smaller, 2.7-liter (2,670 cc) engine, which was restricted by the French taxation system that made any car with an engine of 2.8 liters or more, extremely expensive to own and keep on the road.
The engine had three Weber 42DCNF carburetors, which meant an output of 168 horsepower (125 kilowatts) and 170 pound-feet (230 Nm), which were sent to the front wheels. The same engine had a fuel-injected version, featuring a Bosch D-Jetronic system, but it is unknown whether some of the convertibles got it. The Maserati V-6 was mated to a five-speed manual, but there was an optional three-speed BorgWarner automatic made available for the US market, for the 1971 and 1972 model years. For 1974 and 1975, the automatic was also available in Europe.
Very few examples were built
The hardtop version of the Citroen SM was produced in fairly large quantities, considering its segment. Between 1970 and 1975, a total of 12,920 units of the Citroen SM coupe were produced. By comparison, the Chapron-made Citroen SM Mylord is extremely rare. Depending on different sources, between five and seven cars were built. One additional car was planned but due to the car’s price and the standard SM’s poor sales figures in 1975, only 115 sold, and the sixth SM Mylord was never built. According to some sources, eight cabriolets were built, which may include the initial prototype from 1971. Three of the cars are said to have been exported to the US.
Only one original example remains
One of the very few Citroen SM Mylords featured on a website called cadycars.be is said to be the only example that is still in 100 percent, original condition. It is a 1972 model finished in white exterior color with green leather interior. Currently, good examples of the French luxury cabriolet, built by Chapron go for at least $250,000.
Many of the Citroen SM’s innovations made it onto the SM Mylord
Citroen was on a roll back in those days and the SM was a technological tour de force. It introduced many firsts into the automotive industry, some of which only recently became standard features on some luxury cars. For starters, it features a hydro-pneumatic, self-leveling suspension, which actually dates back to the 1930s Citroen 11CV Traction Avant – the first hatchback ever made. The SM also came with self-leveling headlights, which “followed” the steering wheel, but those were illegal in the US. Those and many other engineering features made the SM the technological marvel it still is, today.
Killed by Peugeot?
In 1974, Citroen went bankrupt, which was followed by a takeover from Peugeot. The French brand had no interest in the Italian company, which in turn was bought by an Italian, state-owned holding company, called GEPI. At this point, Alejandro De Tomaso became CEO and President of Maserati. Peugeot wanted to cut losses and given that, in 1975, only 15 examples of the Citroen SM were sold, Peugeot pulled the plug on the luxury grand tourer.
The 130,000-franc sticker price of the Citroen SM Mylord did not help its case either as it was almost twice as expensive as the Citroen SM coupe and almost as expensive as the Ferrari 365 GTB “Daytona”. Nevertheless, it remains the most technologically advanced and distinctive vehicle of its period. With so few made, it’s bound to be an investment, assuming you can afford or even find someone willing to part with it.