Celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Citroën Méhari with a showcase on the Champs-Élysées in Paris
A special area has been created at Citroën’s C_42 showcase on the Champs-Élysées dedicated to key moments from the Citroën Méhari’s history.
A bit of an oddity this car. In my years growing up , messing around with cheap old Lancia’s followed by long trips to the South of France, a best friend of mine fell in love with, this, they did look good in the Sud but Sussex not really…. Looking back I will admit I can now see the charm of an old Méhari.
Watch the Citroën Méhari birthday video
The Méhari was first unveiled on 16 May 1968 aka the Diane 6 Méhari. An unpretentious design, beach buggy like in appearance and equally at ease for military use, transporting hay or surfboards.
The Citroën Méhari was the creation of Roland de La Poype, a French fighter ace during World War II and a successful industrialist in the post-war period. The Méhari extended the versatility and economy of the 2CV, while featuring more contemporary materials. The lightweight body was innovative in being moulded in ABS. It was extremely malleable there was no limit on colours. The Méhari’s other key characteristic was that it could be fully opened above the waistline, this included the windscreen, which the folded down onto the bonnet.
Almost 150k examples were produced between 1968 and 1987. There was even a 4WD version launched in 1979. Just two special editions were released – the Méhari Beach (in Spain) and the Méhari Azur (in France, Italy and Portugal). The Méhari Azur was produced in white with blue doors, grille, canvas roof and headlamp surrounds, plus white and blue striped seats.
Citroën Méhari models took part in the Liége-Dakar-Liège rally in 1969, the Paris-Kabul-Paris rally in 1970, the Paris-Persepolis-Paris rally in 1971 and provided medical assistance in the 1980 Paris-Dakar. The Méhari was even used by the French army as its lightweight design made it easy to parachute drop the car behind enemy lines.
The model’s name – Méhari – comes from a word used in North Africa and the Sahara for dromedary camels whose speed and endurance makes them ideal for the tough conditions in the area, enabling them to transport people and goods.
One of the stranger classics to celebrate but still deserving its place, although perhaps not wise to bring out a new retro version.
Read more Citroën articles at Drive.co.uk/Citroën
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