Don’t you just hate the French sometimes? To top all those ludicrous meals and silk scarves, their presidents used to ride in a drop-top Citroën SM.

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The Citroën SM Présidentielle was created in 1971 for President Georges Pompidou and was in use as a parade car by Presidents Giscard d’Estaing, Mitterand, and Chirac, until retired in 2006. Based on the regular SM, a car which is—in spite of its

flaws—one of the most perfect grand tourers ever made, two examples were built by Parisian coachbuilder Henri Chapron.

Unlike the regular SM, the Présidentielle was a four-door and it came with a rather special seat: In between the two front seats, which were moved apart for this purpose, was a fold-down interpreter’s seat, facing backward toward the president’s seat. Over 18 feet long and equipped with low gearing for pleasant cruising, the Présidentielle allowed the President to greet foreigners mingling with his citizens while understanding their insults. Omelette du fromage!

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Photo Credit: Fab VT, Le Figaro Blogs