Buck­ley’s mar­ket mat­ters

Classic Sports Car - - The Marketplace -

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

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