Debunking the most common old wives’ tales
1 ITS NAME STANDS FOR ‘SERIE MASERATI’
The truth is, nobody really knows what ‘SM’ means. ‘Série Maserati’ is a reasonable enough assumption because of the car’s Maserati V6 engine, but ‘Système Maserati’, ‘Special Maserati’ and ‘Sports Maserati’ have also been suggested. Given that, when the model was being developed it was dubbed ‘Project S’, it could also be derived from that, with the name of Citroën’s Italian acquisition tacked on the end. However, thanks to Citroën’s love of wordplay and the DS’ nickname of ‘ The Goddess’ (‘La Déesse’ in French), ‘Sa Majesté’ (‘Her Majesty’) has also been pitched as a possible. Of course, owning one was often an experience akin to sado-masochism, so perhaps…
2 THE ENGINE WAS A TRUNCATED MASERATI V8
There’s a persistent rumour that the SM’s 2.7-litre V6 was just Maserati’s existing V8 with two cylinders lopped off. Not so, according to its engineer, Giulio Alfieri of Maserati. While its unusual 90-degree bank angle was the same as on the V8, he always claimed his 1963 design for the C114-V6 unit was new and exclusive, especially as it had to be suitable for frontwheel drive and be under 2700cc because of France’s fiscal laws. The engine lived on in the Merak, the Biturbo and the 1990s Ghibli after the SM’s demise.
3 IT WAS A VERY PRACTICAL SUPERCAR
The SM might be just under five metres long but its low roofline – six inches less than a DS – limits interior accommodation. And the boot is dominated by the spare wheel. ‘Playboy lovers of touring in the grand manner will have to restrict their birds to the topless bikini and toothbrush sort of luggage – the spare gets most of your boot space,’ wrote one critic.
Spacious appearance is an illusion – low roof means it’s quite cramped.