Intellectually, I’ve always known the Citroën SM to be Cool™. It was a high-speed rocket car in its day, it was comfortable, it had self-leveling suspension and lights. But then I finally saw one in person. And I found my favorite aspect of it.
Predictably, it came down to the badging. If you’ve been following my work here at all, you’ll know I have had a lot of say about car badges: Cars that have too many badges, how off-center badging is good, how we should deboss badges more and even why Citroën’s own badge looks the way it does.
The SM’s badge, incredibly, isn’t even located on the car’s front facia at all. It’s on the hood. Look!
This is actually quite genius because it makes the hood vent both functional and stylish. Kind of like a lapel pin. Thought went into this. It’s very much appreciated.
Of course, we wouldn’t want to mar the front of the car in all its glassed-in glory.
Look at how clean that nose is. Nothing messing up the hood lines, nothing interfering with the glass. Because I saw this car in the parking lot at the Goodwood Revival, it had the beautiful Euro front end with the swiveling front headlights.
By contrast, this is the version we got here because we’re trash:
It’s not bad but think about what it could have been.
Badges these days are sometimes used to hide the giant radar the car uses for stuff like adaptive cruise control and automatic braking. But for cars that don’t, I sort of wish badge placement would happen somewhere other than the front facia.
Maybe you slap it on an off-center hood vent, like Citroën did. Maybe on a side body panel somewhere. Maybe even on part of the windshield, like a decal. The possibilities are endless.
Anyway, you can all praise the SM for its driving and technological quirks. I just love that front badge.