Citroën SM Mylord: Exclusive Convertible

Wednesday, february 6, 2019

At the Retromobile fair, of course one comes across high standards of the Automobile collection, which includes, Citroen SM. But one needs to be alert and have a taste for out of sync cars, to find some “special” and occasional versions, more known than the launched ones. The huge Citroen stand celebrating its 100 years of the brand is just monumental, but one finds the rare gem just a little further away: Citroen SM Mylord, a rare convertible variation, realized by the auto body mechanic, Henri Chapron.

When SM was released in 1970, Chapron was already having a love affair with Citroen for a few years, producing for his very own account, then for the brand’s account, DS and ID Cabriolets. With the release of this amazing coupé, the result of Citroen’s collaboration and henceforth its subsidiary Maserati (for the engine), France got back some of its colors in the high-end range, while Facel-Vega only survived during the 60’s.

For the Parisian auto body mechanic, Henri Chapron, the presentation of the SM was a golden opportunity to prolong the collaboration, with the Javel manufacturer. Why wouldn’t one redo the DS’s cut while uncapping the SM. Citroen obviously saw this initiative in a positive way and confided the production to the latter. It was no luxury, as the income of the auto body mechanic decreased drastically.

At the 1971 Paris Fair, Chapron was able to present his new creation, Mylord. After removing the hood, this convertible offered a real trunk, while the structure was strengthened by better rigidity. The shape was definitely different, compared to the coupé version: With the convertible hood, Mylord looked more and more like a three-bodied sedan. It didn’t matter, as without the hood, she had a fluid and slender line. Under the hood, one found the essential V6 2.7 liters of 170 horsepower, of Maserati origin.

The Mylord was a major hit at the fair, just like the SM Espace version of the auto body mechanic, Heulize (a kind of targa). However, despite the success encountered by the public, Mylord was a flop: costing double the amount of a SM, which already had a steep price, it remained out of reach for mere mortals. The price would have surely decreased, if Citroen had planned a production which was less artisanal (like the brand had done with the DS), but the situation wasn’t all that bright: between the effects of the oil crisis in 1973, the new American norms, condemning SM in USA or the crazy amounts swallowed up, in the Comotor adventure and the rotary piston engine, the chevrons were in dire straits, while the Michelin family, owner of the company, tried to hang up their boots.

On the verge of bankruptcy, Citroen was sold to Peugeot, which made up the PSA group in 1974, condemning de facto SM and even more, any convertible variation. The downfall of her majesty SM and the Citroen company also condemned another Chapron project: the Opera Sedan. Two other rather special convertibles were also built by Chapron: the two stately SM presidentials.

All in all, only 8 models were manufactured (some also speak about 6 models, only), making this Mylord scarce. Given these conditions, it is tough to assess such a vehicle: in February 2014, during the Artcurial sales, organized by Retromobile (already), a model was sold at 548 320 euros (including fees and taxes). Surely expensive, but what a pleasure to be behind the wheel of such an unusual SM: uniqueness is priceless.

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