Buckley’s market matters
Citroën SMS seem to be in the air again. I took a friend, Steve, to pick one up from a vendor who had a random selection of cars, including another SM. I suspect it drove better than the one my friend bought: it had near-non-exsistent acceleration, tyres apparently shaped like 50p pieces and, once home, started to bleed hydraulic fluid over his garage floor.
Not to worry: it turned out that it had a broken throttle cable (SMS have two, of course…) and a set of Michelin XWXS (essential on SMS because it was designed around them and nothing else looks right) from Longstone sorted the tyres. I couldn’t help smiling when a mutual pal, on learning Steve was selling his “boring” Merc 280CE to fund the SM, said, quite seriously: “Well, it’s more his type of car – he likes stuff that goes wrong a lot.” There could be something in that for us all!
A white SM that lives by the Thames not far from the C&SC offices (and has done for years) came up for sale at about the same time for a lot less money. It is much, much rustier than Steve’s new love, but is in regular use, in as much as it seems to move regularly from its parking spot, which made me think that an SM must be one of the few cars where the mechanicals take precedence over the condition of the body. Possibly.
On a different note, I had a good day at Prescott’s American-car meet in October and met a friend, a farmer, who reminisced about being able to afford his first Ferrari in the 1970s – a £6000 250 Europa – only because there had been a potato famine and the price of spuds went up! Today he owns a variety of Lancias including an extremely valuable ’50s model that he bought, in pieces, for £500 40-plus years ago. He put it back together and still uses the car. It’s probably the tattiest example you will ever see, which is refreshing, but you could still add three noughts to his original purchase price today. I asked Farmer X if that worried him? “Oh no,” he replied, “it owes me almost nothing and it’s worth so much that whatever happens it would get restored; in fact, if it had that bad a smash I’d be dead anyway, so I wouldn’t care.” Good answer.
Left: bumper crop led to a Ferrari 250 Europa. Below: Buckley has been considering the priorities when buying a Citroën SM