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The 12th International CitroŽn Car Clubs Meeting, Amherst Mass. USA

a personal account by
Tony Stokoe

Looking out the window of our room one could see the growing numbers of CitroŽns gathering around the adjacent lake and immediately below us the amazing SM pick-up, trailer and speed breaking SM from California based ‘SM World’.

Our contingent of SeMantisites headed down to investigate. We met up with Jerry and Sylvia Hathaway who were displaying their SMs and trailer with regular demonstrations of the race-prepared SM, registration number RACESM, being driven onto the trailer behind the pick-up SM, registration WORKSM.

The SM trailer had its floor panels raised to reveal a unique hydraulic suspension system of familiar green spheres, accumulators, pumps and reservoirs, and this was quite amazing. All this, to give what must be smoothest riding trailer ever. Looking under the bonnet (sorry hood) of RACESM there were no hydraulic pumps or pipes at all! This made the unusual engine bay, immaculate and gleaming components either highly polished or chromed, look very spacious. The hydraulics were to be found in the boot, (oops, trunk), driven by electric motors powered by heavy duty batteries, thus avoiding any power being sapped from the engine.

Looking back under the hood, I could see a large duct to take air to the carburettors to compress the mixture, feeding off to two exhaust driven superchargers either side of the engine. The engine itself was recognisable as the Maserati unit we all know, but nothing else looked familiar to my untutored eye. The twin exhausts exited immediately behind the front wheels terminating at the bottom of the front wings (I mean fenders). No refinements such as silencers, or mufflers in USA speak. This was very evident when Sylvia started the car for her demonstration. None of the mellifluous burble we all love from the SM. This one, rather like Scottish Bagpipes, was best heard from several fields away. Ouch.

Having recovered from this assault on the senses we turned our attention to the display the Hathaways had set up next to their SMs and to a more conventional SM, (if an SM can be described thus), parked next to it. More SMistes! Manning (well personning) the display were our good friends Pierre and Genevieve Fraleux, luminaries of the SM Club de France and over on an extended holiday in the ‘States. Both were talking with Herr Sogtrop, president of the SM Club Deutschland. This was to be the pattern of things for the weekend; meeting and greeting friends and acquaintances, Citrophiles from all over the globe, at every turn. The ICCCR certainly lived up to its title.

Friday evening we squeezed our SM group of 6 into the CitroŽn Mercury Sable d’Ormobile and headed into downtown Amherst for a very convivial dinner with M. Brodie presiding over the wine list. The local residents looked rather bemused by this invasion of old French cars, Tractions parked at every street corner, but took it in their stride.

© 2002 Tony Stokoe/Brian Scott Quinn/Julian Marsh/CitroŽnŽt