Home » LA Stories, But For Real This Time: Cold Start

LA Stories, But For Real This Time: Cold Start

Cs Sm1jpg
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Okay, okay, maybe yesterday’s Cold Start was more of a hung-over, phoned-in attempt than I’d have liked. I admit that. And, it’s true: a Rolls-Royce parked next to some econoboxen isn’t an exclusive trait of Los Angeles, and my suggesting it was somehow special debases us all. I see that now. But, look, we all have our off days, and I want to make amends, both to you, dear readers, and to this strange and sometimes lovely city that I once called home. So, today, I’m happy to say I stumbled across something that’s really much, much more LA than that garbage I tried to pass off to you yesterday: a street-parked, absolutely beautiful Citroën SM. Am I forgiven?

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Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

This glorious golden terrestrial spaceship was just sitting on the side of the street, unburdened by license plates of any sort, though the European plate frames, with their incomprehensible array of holes, remained. The car was immaculate, and yet whoever owns it is clearly not a fussy sort of person, as you can see by the window only being rolled up about 3/4 of the way.

What look like amber rear reverse lamps are interesting and something I had thought to be primarily an Australian affectation, but it turns out those aren’t actually amber, they’re yellow, like the selective yellow French headlights. Those yellow reverse lamps mean that this SM was a French market car made prior to June of 1974, when the reverse lamps were switched to clear, like the rest of the world.

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As a French market car, this SM retains the glorious headlight arrangement that included a large rectangular unit, a more square smaller lamp, and then a lamp that steered mechanically with the front wheels, all set under glass, like precious gems.

These SMs are really special things, a Maserati-engined GT car that looks a and feels like an alien’s ship that came from the very soul of the 1970s.

Cs Sm4

And here one is, docked by the oversize LA curb, just another shiny tile in this city’s automotive mosaic. This is what I miss about LA.

 

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Miguel
Miguel
11 months ago

The driver’s window is open!!

Martin Ibert
Martin Ibert
1 year ago

“European plate frames with their incomprehensible array of holes” — well, those holes are there so the frames fit as many car models without alteration. European car models tend to have the screw holes for the plates (or today rather plate frames) in all kinds of places. Some of the larger holes are probably there to save material.
BTW the plate frame looks somewhat odd on that car. I venture the guess it was a later addition, and possibly not done in France either.

DysLexus
DysLexus
1 year ago

Do people even “phone it in“ anymore?

My grandfather used to “mail it in” and then my dad would “email it in” and I used to “phone it in” and my son would “text it in“ so I suppose the next generation would be to “Snapchat it in“ or somesuch, eh?

LarsVargas
LarsVargas
1 year ago
Reply to  DysLexus

You apparently have a lawn of some sort that you need to yell at people to get off of.

Lokki
Lokki
1 year ago
Reply to  LarsVargas

Whoa! Who has a lawn anymore? That’s soooo last century.

Today it’s:

“Stop sleeping in the foyer to my apartment!”

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
1 year ago
Reply to  DysLexus

AI crypto exchange it in for my grandkids.

Chris Wright
Chris Wright
1 year ago

Excellent use of “boxen” as the only correct way to take the word “box” and make it plural!

The car is pretty bomb, too.

A. Barth
A. Barth
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wright

That’s been the standard nomenclature in IT since at least the 1990s, which may be where Torch picked it up (given his tech tendencies). 🙂

Dennis Birtcher
Dennis Birtcher
1 year ago
Reply to  A. Barth

My reference point for boxen (which, I will note, Firefox’s spell check is perfectly happy with. As it should be) is comedian Brian Regan. Now if only we could standardize moosen…

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 year ago

I saw a flock of moosen! In the woods! In the woodes! In the woodenesen!!! The meese want the food, the food is to eatenesen, the meese want the fooden in the woodenesen IN THE FOOD IN THE WOODENESEN!!

I love Brian Regan 🙂

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
1 year ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

You mentioned driving on the Autobahn, that reminded me, once I was driving in the Sea of Tranquility… in my lunar rover.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
1 year ago

It’s cool, I get it.
I’m phoning it in at work as I write this comment.
We all do it sometimes.

John Patson
John Patson
1 year ago

Lovely cars, and if they are still going are probably good. Strangely hardly ever seen on the road in France, unless it is a club outing.
DS beauties are also a rare site — a good one is now €45,000 and up…

Harris K Telemacher
Harris K Telemacher
1 year ago

That citroen seattle site is an amazing wealth of knowledge on these vehicles. That dash is nuts. From the “Stopping distance” indicator on the speedometer to that Stargate-esque warning/indicator light oval. Just fantastic looking. You could do a whole article on just those gauges.

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
1 year ago

No need to apologize, at least not to me.
You’re human and you made some choices. It happens. You tried.
Redemption in the form of a Citroen SM not required but absolutely appreciated.

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
1 year ago

The “golden hour” photography just adds to the perfection on display. Merci beaucoup, M. Torch.

Matt Gasper
Matt Gasper
1 year ago

I saw several SMs at the Carlisle Import Nationals this year, including one that was gold on saffron wand blue. They are really spectacular.

William Domer
William Domer
1 year ago

I want that car. Really really want that car

Bobfish
Bobfish
1 year ago

Looking at this car is a delight. The headlight display case. The Chrome Batman rear bumper ABOVE the taillights. The gem-facet join of the beltline and roofline. It all works for me. Egg friendship ended with Porsche 924. Now SM is my best egg friend.

Larry B
Larry B
1 year ago

As an old guy, I don’t get morning wood that often anymore. Thank you.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 year ago

I’m thinking that window is partly open because if no longer works. Looking forward to your next adventure at the auto zoo, though, literally, there can be no such thing as zoo is derived from zoology, the study of animals, which cars are not. Literarily, however, I guess it’s ok as a metaphor. And shouldn’t there be a an ampersand between the S and M?

Last edited 1 year ago by Canopysaurus
ExAutoJourno
ExAutoJourno
1 year ago

The Citroen SM is ALWAYS the answer.

Especially in Euro-spec form. With a manual transmission.

Protodite
Protodite
1 year ago
Reply to  ExAutoJourno

Yes with the absolutely wild shifter too

Guillaume Maurice
Guillaume Maurice
1 year ago
Reply to  Protodite

As a rule, even for French people, a SM is wild and from another planet.
Most people have to take a hard look to see one as being a Citroën more weird than usual.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 year ago

It’s a shame they’re so rare.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
1 year ago

It’s not all locked up because thieves know not to mess with alien spacecraft.

Guillaume Maurice
Guillaume Maurice
1 year ago

*Manual* Alien Spacecraft.

The most weird kid.

Toecutter
Toecutter
1 year ago

I bet they’d have been able to sell a lot more of them during the fuel crisis if it came with a tuned 5-cylinder Mercedes turbodiesel instead of that inefficient Maserati engine. Imagine a 50+ mpg car that can keep up with the supercars of the era, but costs even less. The body of the SM is delightfully slippery and it has so much potential.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 year ago
Reply to  Toecutter

That would be amazing, although I shudder to think about what it would be like to work on with a longer engine and all the turbo equipment.

A. Barth
A. Barth
1 year ago

Wow – that glass display case for the headlights really is beautiful.

It appears to help with aero while keeping grit, etc. away from the mechanisms that allow the pivoting lights to move.

It almost looks like it could opened by lifting the front edge, kind of like a rolltop desk, but that would be excessively complicated.

Peter Nagy
Peter Nagy
1 year ago

That is a beautiful vehicle. It would make a great template for a modern EV. Keep the basic shape, which looks close enough to a classic teardrop, but move the rear wheels back a little to squeeze in rear doors (bonus points if you make them suicide doors or sliders), keep all the chrome highlights but make them flush mounted for aerodynamics (maybe make them light strips instead of chrome), and put the batteries down the center where the drive shaft was. If someone who is better at photoshop than me could draw it, I’d love to see it.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Nagy

Agree. I think these were front wheel drive though.

Peter Nagy
Peter Nagy
1 year ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Have to find another place for the battery then. It can’t go under the floor without ruining the low-slung nature of the car that is it’s superpower. Maybe make a spine and force it to be a four-seater. Buckets in the back are always cool.

If that nifty air suspensions that Citroen used could be incorporated, that would be the cherry on top.

Looking at it again, the name badge connecting the rear side windows to the hatch would be an awesome way to hide the track for rear sliding doors.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Nagy
Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 year ago

Your SM offering pleases us. All is forgiven.

(I had no issue with yesterday’s cold start. Though I’m shocked you don’t have like, 20 emergency cold starts queued up. And at this point I’m surprised that we don’t occasionally get something like a picture of the rear end of an Alero with the caption “Boy those taillight lenses sure are big! Uhhhhh, I’m a little hungover. See you guys tomorrow.”)

Last edited 1 year ago by Taargus Taargus
Dsa Lkjh
Dsa Lkjh
1 year ago

My Dad had GSs and a CX, we looked at loads of SMs at shows when I was a kid. Just amazing things, and they just get weirder the more you know about them.

One of my friends has an SM.

His dad sold it to him for one pound.

It needs a new starter motor. You access the starter motor from below. Because of the hydropneumatic suspension it sits on the floor with the engine off. So before he can fit a new starter he just needs to start the engine.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 year ago
Reply to  Dsa Lkjh

Ah; the French version of the Bootstrap Conundrum

Limoncello
Limoncello
1 year ago
Reply to  Dsa Lkjh

Or you could switch it to landspeeder-mode, like so….https://www.carscoops.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/b26929c7-floating007.jpg. ?

Dsa Lkjh
Dsa Lkjh
1 year ago
Reply to  Limoncello

That looks amazing!

Who needs wheels with a shape that right?

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
1 year ago

We forgive but we don’t forget, Mr. Tarot-cone-insky.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
1 year ago
Reply to  Cool Dave

Oh no! The cone of shame.

Lokki
Lokki
1 year ago

More like the Ten Of Swords…

James Davidson
James Davidson
1 year ago

A neighbor of ours on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (NYC) used to street park an identical gold Citroen SM. Another neighbor street parked a black JPS Lotus Europa. The worst was a guy who lived two doors down from us who street parked his metallic pale puce Rolls Royce Silver Ghost beater. It was filthy and the trunk was usually held shut with a rope. That was an interesting neighborhood to grow up in if you liked cars.

EXL500
EXL500
1 year ago
Reply to  James Davidson

I lived in Manhattan for 35 years, although not in the UES (Chelsea). In my travels I remember seeing such an SM in the same color from time to time up there. It must have been the same one.

We had a GS and a CX in our neighborhood for a while, and a copper 1970 Cadillac Calais I wish I’d bought at retirement.

The SM does seem like the answer to all the questions, but I’d be terrified of its unreliability.

James Davidson
James Davidson
1 year ago
Reply to  EXL500

Just a couple of days ago we followed another SM across the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge. It was just exquisite. We followed it until we needed to take an exit. My wife and I joked about flagging him down as they do on Count’s Customs. “Say brother, is that something you would ever consider selling?”

Chronometric
Chronometric
1 year ago

Amazing what a Bloody Mary and some Pacific air will do for a hangover. Soon a lovely Citroen alights beside you like a cheerful morning sparrow. You are forgiven.

Xpumpx
Xpumpx
1 year ago

never seen one of those before, the rear view is bonkers and amazing!

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 year ago
Reply to  Xpumpx

“Bonkers” is part of the French design language. Just like “sexy” is for Italian, “aggro” is for American, and “broken” is for British.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 year ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

It’s actually “bonqueures”

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