200mph Bonneville Citroën SM on show at Mullin
Famous Bonneville speed record SM joins the 'Citroën: The Man, The Marque, The Mystique' exhibition at the Mullin Automotive Museum – but only until spring!
The Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California has added to its 'Citroën: The Man, The Marque, The Mystique' exhibit with a 1931 C4G, a 1975 CX2200 Berline and the famous 1971 SM Bonneville Racecar towed by a custom SM pickup on a trailer equipped with Citroen hydropneumatics.
The SM combination, with the Race SM, Work SM and Port SM, was designed by Citroën specialist Jerry Hathaway and his wife, Sylvia. They set records at over 200mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1985 and 1987, respectively, in the SM race car, making them only the third couple in history to become lifetime members of the Bonneville 200mph Club.
All three SMs – the race car, the two car and the trailer – featured the SM's trademark hydropneumatic suspension. Initially the race car's Maserati V6 engine was equipped with three 48mm Weber carburettors and hot camshafts to produces an estimated 250bhp. This resulted in a 154mph top speed at Bonneville.
The team continued to refine the car over the years, and added an AiResearch turbo. With this, the car achieved 200.002mph in 1985. Then, in 1987, Jerry’s wife, Sylvia, took the wheel and set the land speed record at 202.301 miles per hour.
'When I put the turbos on the race car the engine compartment was too full and so we moved some components to the trunk including the suspension compressor.' says Jerry. 'That told me that the trailer could have the same technology and be self-contained.'
The C4G, introduced in 1931, features a larger engine than the earlier Type As, giving it a top speed of 56mph and 'floating power' engine technology to reduce vibrations.
The CX was the replacement for the iconic DS, and used the DS engine and the steering components from the Maserati-powered SM, the 1975 CX2200 Berline replaced its iconic DS predecessor, winning Motor Trend 'Car of the Year' in January 1975.
'I’ve always been captivated by the unique aesthetic that is signature to the Citroën brand,' said Peter Mullin, founder and CEO of the Mullin Automotive Museum. 'Paired with exceptional technological features, the vehicles were truly ahead of their time. We are pleased to be able to share the stories of these unique vehicles, offering guests a one-of-kind glimpse into the brand’s progression.'
'Citroën: The Man, The Marque, The Mystique' features 46 of the world’s most historic and unique Citroëns, and is the most comprehensive look at the history of the famed French automaker ever attempted in North America. With focus on the technologic excellence of the marque as well as the man behind it, André Citroën, it includes vehicles such as the 2CV, the Traction Avant Cabriolet, the HY Van, the 2007 C6, and the 2009 C3 Pluriel.
The display is on for only a few more weeks, closing in the spring. The museum is typically open to the public on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month from 10am to 3pm. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Semi-private tours are offered on Tuesdays at 10am and Thursdays at 11am for $40 per person. For more information and tickets, visit the Mullin Automotive Museum website.
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