Had a very low-key 29th birthday today...nothing fancy, nothing amazing, but very pleasant. However....things got 1 Gajillion times more AWESOME on the way to supper with a few friends and family. You all probably know I have a quirky love of all car things Italian and French, especially FIAT, Alfa Romeo, Citroën, Peugeot and Japanese kei cars. I shall set the scene - I hope some of my boyish petrolhead excitement rubs off on some of you vicariously! ;)
We are driving down the main street (King Street) of my larger hometown, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia (I live within 15 minutes of three different towns - Lunenburg, Mahone Bay and Bridgewater) in my ‘09 Accent affectionately called “Humdrum”. My twin brother (who knows I like cars) nonchalantly spoke from the back seat as we were going by it and said: “Hey, what car is that?”
I glance in my drivers side rearview mirror to see if I can catch a glimpse of the referred-to car parallel parked on the other side of the street and am greeted by...
***0.5 second pause while my brain works momentarily***......”Oh, uh, that’s a...Citroë....OMGHOLYF***INSHITTHATISACITROËNSM”. I have NEVER seen one in person before. People either love them or hate them, but to me, it was just breathtaking and just plain damned outright striking...
I promptly declared I was forcing the other 3 people in the car (I was driving) to turn around with me and go back so I could see it in person. As we came around the block and were waiting at a stop sign, I saw the brake lights come on on the SM and I audibly chuckled when the rear end rose up a little bit as he started it (yay hydropneumatics! :D), then gearhead-panic arose in my brain: “OH NO, HE’S LEAVING!!!!11111oneoneone”. As I passed the car, I caught a faint whiff of the smell of unburned hydrocarbons wafting through the air. The older gentleman in the SM pulled out behind my car, promptly drove about 200 Meters down the street and parallel parked again in a better space on the same side of the street, got out and went into a building. I went down the street farther, turned, came back, parallel parked opposite the SM, got out, walked over...
...and began the required gearhead-salivation.
The car was MINT - I am guessing recent restoration based on the new license plate and registration expiration date. The hubcaps were perfectly shiny, no dents, no dings at all. The metallic silver paint was flawless in the early evening sunlight...if it were not disrespectful to such a gorgeous machine, I could’ve eaten off of it. It was a North American-model SM with the non-turning headlights and it had a manual transmission with the awesome SM shifter. Details? Oh the details! The side-markers all proudly said ‘Made in France’ (and were EXACTLY the same front and rear, just with different color inserts and flipped the other way ‘round - clever way to save a little money!). The rear wrap-around hatch glass is amazing and the edges where it curves down look almost crystal-like. The chrome trim and the way it curves over the front headlight area and highlights little details on the car (like the Citroën SM badging on chrome behind the rear side windows). The behind-glass license plate mount at the front. The Kamm-tailed lines of the car from front to rear. The little rear fender spats. The long, graceful aluminum hood hiding that Maserati V6. The single asymmetrical hood mounted air vent with the Citroën logo which has given me a new wallpaper (feel free to use it yourselves! :) ).
We never got a good picture of the front end, but bro did snap this slightly blurry pic while I was parking:
I could’ve stood there for an hour circling around and staring at that machine, but alas, I had 3 other passengers in my car to ferry and a friend already waiting at a local restaurant for us (we were already 3 minutes late when we first saw the car)......so I had to settle for 5 fleeting minutes with the old girl.
To the older bearded gentleman on King Street in Bridgewater on August 6th, 2015 around 5:00pm......I never got to speak with you, but I offer a sincere thank you. You gave this fellow car lover a very nice and very unexpected birthday present, indeed! :)