Monday, July 25, 2011

1972 Citroën SM Présidentielle by Chapron

In 1972, coachbuilder Henri Chapron built 2 SMs for the official duties of the French president Georges Pompidou. Both were lengthened even more than the 4 door special "SM Opera" and are fully convertible. Both were powered by Maserati V6s. The gearbox was modified so that the car could travel slowly. The visit to France of Her Majesty' Queen Elisabeth II, on 15 May 1972, set the date of the first official outing of the new State convertible of the French Presidency'. The special four-door version, registered under the number 2 PR, was intended to replace the Chambord convertible in the presidential garage which dated back to 1959. These new SM Présidentielle continued in use through the inauguration of Jacques Chirac in 1995. 

In the Présidentielle, Chapron developed a convertible extended over the entire length of the roof of the sedan. His work was complicated by the need to provide sufficient elbow room to the illustrious passengers, while reserving sufficient space to accommodate the sides of the folded hood. This forced Henri Chapron to expand the shell from the front doors to the rear of the car. Similarly, the windshield was raised a few inches and the front doors were shortened. Only about 330 kg was added to the overall weight, which is remarkable.

The front seats in the SM have been moved outwards, and the steering column 2 feet to the left, to allow for an interpreter's seat facing the passengers in the rear. All mechanical features are the same as in the standard SM model, but the gear ratios have been modified to allow low-speed running for long periods on end. The SM-type suspension and braking system have been adapted to cope with the vehicle's extra weight.

The first SM Présidentielle was completed in late April 1972 and registered 2PR75, while the second, delivered in mid-May 1972 beared the registration number 3PR75. (wikipedia,, &

(Photos from,,,,, &

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