When we discussed the various types of the Citroën SM in an article back in February of 2019, we mentioned the special bodied variations of Henri Chapron and that in 1971, Heuliez produced two examples of a pillarless targa roof coupé called the SM Espace. We stated that unlike the factory SM, the rear quarter windows could retract into the bodywork but that was the extent of our description of Heuliez’s effort.
We are pleased to report that Hagerty has provided more information about the Espace in an excellent article by Simon Hucknall titled “Why Citroen’s radical T-Top Espace never took flight”.
In it, Hucknall discloses that the idea for the Espace came about in 1971 when Robert Opron visited Heuliez and had lunch with Yves Dubernard, who had just joined the coachbuilder that day.
He goes on to describe the complexity of the Espace’s “slatted T-roof” and how both of the Espace concepts impressed crowds at shows in Europe.
The other distinguishing features of the Espace are also pointed out; horizontal louvers over the rear window, polished aluminum wheel covers, rectangular exhaust tips and a much different interior than production SMs.
Hucknall also reveals an interesting North American historical tidbit to the Espace. In 1978, one was shipped to Chicago for a meeting with coachbuilder and Cadillac converter, Earle Moloney.
Read the full article here:
I remember one of the SM Espace which was designed for the Berri’s automotive shoe and was exhibited on the Heuliez stand next to Chapron’s.
Unfortunately, the car was never sold and stayed at the factory. I did not know they built a second one.
The original car is now in Belgium part of a friend’s collection who also has both Chapron SM models and Harguindeguy’s SM’s.
George, do you know where is the second SM?
When I first heard of the SM Espace in the early 1970s, I recall it was blue and pretty much a conventional SM other than the T-roof. Here are a couple of pics I found of that car. I think it was the 2nd one that there article refers to. It was on display with the SM Club of France at some point, so they might know where it resides today.
There was a white SM Espace shown at Retromobile in 2020, and If I’m not mistaken I think it was reproduction. Look at the top edge of the rear side window trim — it does not match either the blue or purple cars. You can see additional sections left over from a conventional SM coupe including the “L” join piece at the top edge. Plus there is extra badging in an attempt to make people think it is authentic. And then there’s the srtandard round exhaust tips and those North American side marker lights…