We are very fortunate Jim Berry called us. Jim is the son of James O. Berry Jr. who had been the east coast dealer manager for Citroën in the 1960’s and early 70’s. Based in Buffalo, New York, James had not only delivered many new cars to Citroën dealers, and kept intricate records of the dealer relationships, but also amassed a considerable amount of marketing material.

Jim Berry

View a full Photo Gallery of the outing here.

Jim invited us to come to Buffalo and browse through the files that his Dad squirreled away in mother’s home basement. He brought them to his office located near the Buffalo waterfront. What a collection it was! And it was a 1996 Advertising Plans and Recommendations Report for Citroen prepared by the Shevlo advertising agency in NYC. In 1965, seeking to be creative in their own right and to better understand the US market, Citroën USA hired Shelvo to prepare the report. Now we had it. And it contained a full analysis of the automobile market in North America at that time! ‘

We came across two hand painted SM signs with the SM logo (in gold) on a black plastic backing. They were the size of European license plates and where used for the SM on display at the New York and Chicago auto shows. Jim also had the original Motor Trend “car of the Year” award that was bestowed on the SM in 1972. It was impressive and nicely framed.

Another tidbit of information that came to light is that many of the promotional shots used in the North American SM literature were taken in the Buffalo area. Remember the brochure shot with the SM at a marina? That was taken on the shore of Lake Erie. The shot of the SM with the sail boats in the background was taken at the Buffalo Yacht Club, where James was a member.

And the shots of the SM on the beach with the two girls wearing bikinis and walking two horses were taken at Crystal Beach on the Canadian side of Lake Erie, just 15 minutes from downtown Buffalo.

The story of the girls was amusing. James drove the cars over to the Canadian dock of the Buffalo Yacht Club, which was located near the beach. As usual, when he pulled up to get a photo, employees of the yacht club made quite a fuss over the car. He explained that he wanted to take a “sexy shot” of the car on the beach. Hearing that, two women who worked at the yacht club said that they had two nice looking daughters who could fill the bill as eye candy. A couple of phone calls later, two lovely bikini-clad lasses appeared. There was local horse farm nearby so two horses were borrowed for the shot as well. Could James have been obsessed with tying the SM to the iconic Deux Cheveaux? (We like to think so.) The shot became one of the legendary photos of North American SM.

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