In the latest video from The Grand Tour, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond take an SM for a sweeping drive through the open countryside of southern of England. While the essence of the SM is captured and the drone footage is spectacular, Clarkson and Hammond, as well as the producers of this video, need a SM orientation lesson.

Presumably for the sake of showbiz, they drummed up the means to show Clarkson’s indomitable wit, by having him slag the SM’s dashboard warning lights as part of he and Hammond’s verbal banter as they cruise along. He points out to Richard Hammond the giant stop warning light in the SM, which happens to be on, along with the alternator and oil pressure light, plus a flashing handbrake light, which begs the question, why would you drive the car with these lights on?

Is the next scene in the video supposed to be where they break-down? No — the video serenely continues.

In reality that warning light combination would indicate that shot was done when the engine was not running! Why would experienced automotive journalists, who have encountered the SM and DS on many occasions, show such a scenario? To achieve sensationalism do they need to incorrectly target the dashboard warning lights as a Citroën SM quirk?

Clarkson also takes his usual jabs, at french engineering, oddly criticizing the complexity of its gear linkage (considered by many who have reviewed the SM to be one of the best feeling gear shifts ever) and slags the electric harness for being all black sleeved wire.

He has a point about the wire, but showing the SM driving along with these warning lights on, makes for a rather amateurish presentation and Clarkson and Hammond to be fools.

Watch the video here:

Update — Dec. 27, 2021: In contrast, watch this perspective on the SM, presented by Iain Tyrrell of Tyrrell’s Classic Workshop where he discusses the SM’s development and takes a road test where he eloquently conveys the brilliant engineering, styling and remarkable ride: https://youtu.be/pKIsN3h3Rvk. [Note however that there is one error; Iain mentions that the Maserati V6 engine in the SM was ‘chopped down’ version of their V8 at the time. Actually, the SM V6 engine was designed from scratch by Maserati’s Giulio Alfieri but capable of being assembled on existing V8 tooling.]

4 comments

  1. To me the show came through as three British bufoons poking fun of something foreign to them, and just trashing cars for the sake of trashing cars with an overinflated production budget from Amazon. Sure there were some entertaining moments such as the SM driving eloquently, but the rest of it came across as three little boys playing with other’s toys. If they are true automobile enthusiasts, they wouldn’t drop cars from helicopters or launch them from a slingshot!

    ps….it was great that the French production lady won the car race and showed the big shots how small their talents were in a real race!

  2. Few of us real motoring enthusiasts in Britain have any time for these ‘three British buffoons’… The programme is not intended to be taken seriously and the cars are just props.

  3. The SM was offered directly by UK car restorer Mike Brewer at Silverstone Auctions on November 14, 2021. It was mentioned in the listing that is was soon to be featured in the TV Show ” The Grand Tour”. It sold for: £41,062.

  4. I think you doth protest too much about the warning light scene! To me it wasn’t implying that the giant STOP warning light was lit while they were driving (even though they spliced the shot amongst driving footage), but the discussion about the giant STOP warning was simply that there existed a giant warning light to say STOP in large friendly letters without giving any indication as to why it wanted the driver to STOP. It’s existence was the quirky part, not whether it happened to be lit up or not while they were driving.

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