THE FINANCIAL FREEDOM. HAVE A WORSE CAR THAN YOUR NEIGHBOUR

Achieving financial freedom is a very important topic which is definitely not in the books at school, nor is a key topic of the master classes at Universities or Business Schools. Nonetheless, it is a key topic since you will learn how money works. And if you understand the game rules, your money will attract more money.

Luis Pita already said in his book Have a worse car than your neighbor – “Ten peor coche que tu vecino” – first edition written in 2012. Based on the synopsis of the book, the writer rises that the concept of financial freedom is measured in terms of the number of days, months or years (hopefully years) that you could afford your current lifestyle in case you quitted or lost your job. Further, the concept of pre-save money is introduced, saving your salary increases, avoiding getting into debt, generate passive incomes and, of course, having a worse car than your neighbor

At this time, please ask yourself if you do have good financial freedom and draw a rough estimation. Try also to think about what you could do to improve it. Well, let´s go to the main topic: Do you have a worse car than your neighbor?

I DO HAVE A WORSE CAR THAN MY NEIGHBOUR

Logically I do not know the financial situation of my neighbor, actually, I barely know my neighbor. And you might be wondering “How can´t you know your neighbor after almost 3 years?”. As you know, I do live in Tokyo. This is Japan and one of the cultural peculiarities of the rising sun country is that they are not that social as Latin people, not even as warm as the most reserved occidental people. What do I mean? Regardless of occidental cultures, where you normally see your neighbors every day (sometimes even so much), let us say that it is rather unusual to keep any kind of relationship with your neighbors in Japan. In fact, most likely you will never get to know them. In the case of my neighbor, I´ve seen him just once, but I do enjoy every morning the views of his luxury cars shop window. After all, the balance is good. Let me tell you about our first and last special chance encounter.

It was a Saturday noon, I was about to go out to have lunch with some friends and I suddenly saw that special car for first time in the street (it was always inside the garden). As you might imagine, I quickly went out to see it closer and it was even on. Such a temptation! There, next to the car, his owner was smoking a cigarette while he was walking around his car, watching it proudly. At first glance, he seemed to be a very particular Japanese man, dressing up very old clothes, sandals, a hat, and long and uncombed hair. Sorry for the gossip, but I believe it is necessary to contextualize the topic.

I could not waste the “opportunity” to see such an exclusive car at the main entrance of that big house. We are talking about the famous and exclusive Citroën SM: the French shark. He was about to get into the car, so I hurried up to talk to him. I introduced myself as his neighbor, from Spain and resident in Japan for already some time. The Japanese man was kind of very proud that a foreign guy was interested in his cars. Be aware that same for parents is a great compliment when somebody gets truly interested in your sons/daughters, it is also a great ecstasy for us, the car lovers when somebody asks us about our beloved and spoiled machines.

The name of the mysterious and nice Japanese man is Mr.Kobayashi or, as it is would be said in Japan, Kobayashi-san (小林 さん). It was my pleasant duty to have a look inside the car, even he opened its bonnet to show its great engine and I was told how he actually got this great motorized jewel. Aesthetically speaking, the SM was in great conditions and the engine sound was quite good. Jokingly, but with real intentions, I dared to tell him that I would love to test it and well… There are some Japanese who can firmly say “NO”! But I least, I tried it!

It appears that my neighbor Kobayashi’san loves collecting exclusive cars. Therefore, he travels around the world searching for rare cars, participating in auctions. In the case of this car, he mentioned that it was bought in France a few years ago in one of his tours seeking for relics.

Of course, I do not forget about the other great machine, a Rolls-Royce Wraith II from 1979, but today I would like to focus on the great Citroën SM, given its specific character and the curious fact to see a SM in Tokyo. If you look at the picture, you might even be able to see a third relic inside, which is still a mystery for me. 

On second thought, it is actually very curious that I needed to be in Tokyo to see a Citroën SM for the first time in person. That proves again the exclusivity of the SM and how hidden and coveted they are

TECHNICAL SPECS CITROËN SM

Kobayashi-san´s Citroën SM does have a great Maserati engine of V6 2.7 liters – designed by Giulio Alfieri – nothing less than 170hp in 1972.

Be aware this is car about 50 years old, whose characteristics are unreachable by most of today´s cars. Some of the greater peculiarities of the Citroën SM are:

  • Maserati engine, since Maserati was bought by Citroën in 1968. This was the beginning of the legend of the SM.
  • Just 12,920 units were worldwide produced (around 80 units in Spain), with a starting price of 37,500.-€, not really available for everyone in the seventies.
  • The SM became the fastest front-wheel car of the time in the world.
  • The 3-liters V6 Maserati engine, made of aluminum, weighs just 140kg. The maintenance of the car is actually expensive due to the timing belt change every 20,000km, as recommended by Citroën.
  • The power steering systems (hydro-pneumatic pump and adjusted in height), the brake system (four-wheel disc brakes) and the suspension system were perfectly co-integrated, which granted an incredible stability feeling in the highways, as announced by Citroën in its commercial advertisement of the SM in 1970.
  • The directional headlights were designed to offer higher visibility in highways at night – one of the reasons why this car became the third safest car in 1972.
  • The SM does also have an automatic wiper control, electric windows and leather trim. Be aware that these options are of course not standard in many of today´s cars.
  • The front car number plate seems curious, to say the least, with a protective glass.
  • There were two main facts which brought the end of production of this fine specimen and the conduction of such ambitious projects as the SM: the 1970´s oil crisis, which made that the orders were reduced. Finally, the rules of business made Citroën made a decision. Secondly, since Peugeot took control of Citroën, the new strategy did not consider such projects anymore. 
  • If you wanted to buy a wonderful SM with Maserati engine and enjoy such exclusivity, its current market price starts at 35,000 – 40,000.-€.

CITROËN SM LOVERS AND EXPERTS: A TIMELESS DREAM

If you want to know more about the fantastic Citroën SM and get to know it more in deep, I would recommend you to watch the following video where you will be able to fully enjoy it. The video, starring by the Spanish journalist Rubén Hidalgo, tells the story about how he fell in love of with the SM in León (Spain) when he was just 7 years old. The video is in Spanish with English subtitles. Please enjoy it!

This is all for today, I hope you have enjoyed today´s article. Please, as always, it would be a great pleasure to hear from your comments, opinions, questions and/or any other suggestion you would like to make.

Please, feel free to share whatever you want with us! I am sure you do have something curious or funny to share with us! Looking forward to hearing from you soon! 😊

Juan Carlos Hoyos Saez Administrator
Passionate about Cars, Driving and Business. My objective is to inspire more and more car lovers. Racing, Kickboxing, traveling, and healthy life. Sub-project leader as a Material Cost/Project Controller, Daimler Trucks Asia (Tokyo, Japan).
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