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Citroën SM

From Paris with love

Citroen SM

1970: the skirts are getting shorter and at the Geneva Motor show Citroën presented its brand new masterpiece to a public audience: the Citroën SM. It sleek and stylish design was made by Robert Opron who also was responsible for Citroën CX four years later. Citroën wanted to show the proof that a powerful car could be made with a front-wheel drive. So they developed a car and placed a Maserati 3.0l V6 engine inside with up to 180bhp, which can easily be beaten by modern days, ordinary hatchbacks. But back in the 70's it was an extraordinary creation.

(Citroën CX at LEGOLAND Billund)

The SM was also equipped with fancy stuff like the hydro-pneumatic self-levelling suspension and self-levelling headlights that swivelled with the turn of the steering wheel. You won't find this in any actual hatchback now. The swivelling headlights were not allowed in the US and the covered license plate at the front was first not allowed in Germany. So it always was a very special car.

These loads of technical features combined with the complex Maserati engine may have been the reason for its commercial failure. The technique was too complicated for ordinary workshops. So if you see a Citroën SM on the road now, hold on a minute and enjoy the privilege to see it in real life. During the five years in production, only less than 13.000 cars were made.

For a sports car the SM is remarkably huge. For example, it's about 70cm longer and 20cm wider than the Renault Alpine A310, which came out one year later. So it fits more to the range of a Gran Tourismo than to race cars.
If you believe Wikipedia, the real meaning of SM is still unclear. Some say that it stands for "Sports Maserati" and some say it short for "Sa Majesté" But honestly, if the Citroën DS is "La déesse" (The Goddess), then the SM is more like the cheekily little brother, who doesn't care about any rules. So in my opinion "Sport" or "Serie Maserati" works better.

Citroen SM
Citroen SM
(Die cast model in 1:43)

Citroen SM
Citroen SM
(LEGO model in 1:20)

As a child of the 70's the SM had lots of shiny chrome (well, compared to US cars it's nearly nothing, but for a European car it's still a lot). My usual solution for the lack of chromed LEGO elements is to use pearl-light-grey for the bumpers and all other chromed details - except of the hubcaps.

Citroen SM
(Proof that model has the right dimensions)

When you are searching for photos, you often find the SM in a golden colour, or a nice shade of blue. Gold is obviously also a problem within the LEGO colour palette, but blue would work quite well. So I decided to use something completely different: tan. Tan fits perfectly to the 70's and it also means that I don't have to build a boring German taxi to get a model in this colour (and believe me, German taxis are boring). Pleased that there are incredible loads of elements available in tan.
The chassis is 12 studs wide at the front and 10 studs at its back - the opposite of the Ferrari Testarossa. Not a very common shape in automobile history. To build this curve, the chassis is getting thinner in steps of half a stud, softened with sideways mounted tiles. The tiles to cover the rear wheels are a bit wobbly, but if it's treated gently, the car is still playable and the wheels could spin freely. The middle of the roof is lifted by a half plate (which easily can be done with some sideways mounted technic bricks), this makes the whole creation a tiny less boxy.

Citroen SM
(Work in progress)

Every model requires a complete different construction of the windows. For the SM it was important to capture the c-pillar, with its different angles. The most iconic part of the car however is the headlights and license plate completely covered by Plexiglas. These brilliant detail gives the Citroën SM a very unique look.

This model is a good example for the art of miniland scale. It doesn't has any curved elements and is rasterized with the minimum possible steps.

Citroen SM

Citroen SM

Citroen SM

Citroen SM
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© 2019 Stephan Sander 
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