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Thu Feb 22, 2024, 10:38 AM Feb 2024

On this day, February 22, 1932, French automotive designer Robert Opron was born.

Robert Opron

Born: 22 February, 1932; Amiens, France
Died: 29 March 2021 (aged 89); Antony, Hauts-de-Seine, France

Robert Opron (22 February 1932 – 29 March 2021) was a French automotive designer. He created or collaborated on numerous projects that became production cars for brands that included Simca, Renault, and Fiat. He is best known for his work at Citroën, which he joined in 1962 and where he became responsable de style (head of the design department) in 1964.



The first completely new model of the Opron era, and the car he is most closely associated with, was the SM. Assigned the development name Projet S, the original goal was to produce a racing car suitable for Le Mans. Through the influence of Opron and Pierre Bercot, Citroën's managing director, it evolved from a racing car into a premium model in the old Grand Routier tradition.

The SM team, which included Jean Giert, built a full-scale model in the Bureau d'Études workshops on the Rue du Théâtre, making the SM the last model developed in this location before the last of the style department moved to their new location in Vélizy.

A design for a possible GS-based coupé progressed to the full-scale model stage. The car was to be built by Ligier when their contract to assemble the SM expired in 1974–75 but did not go into production.

The project that was Opron's personal favorite was also his last design for Citroën. Initially called Projet L, the result was the CX, which debuted in 1974 as the successor to the DS.

When Citroën declared bankruptcy in 1974, the French Government stepped in and arranged a merger of Citroën with Peugeot. Opron left shortly after this.


Citroën SM

Manufacturer: Citroën
Production: 1970–1975
Model years: 1971-1976 (North America)
Designer: Robert Opron


Rear view - in low position

The Citroën SM is a high-performance coupé produced by the French manufacturer Citroën from 1970 to 1975. The SM placed third in the 1971 European Car of the Year contest, trailing its stablemate Citroën GS, and won the 1972 Motor Trend Car of the Year award in the U.S.


Wed Feb 22, 2023: On this day, February 22, 1932, French automotive designer Robert Opron was born.

Tue Feb 22, 2022: On this day, February 22, 1932, French automotive designer Robert Opron was born.
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