Citroën Mehari

 Rundvald, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons 

19 February 2021  |  Transport, Culture

The classic Citroën Mehari

Anyone with memories of a 1970s summer beach holiday either on the Atlantic coast between Arcachon and Biarritz or anywhere along the Côte d’Azur from Marseille to Menton will remember the familiar site of the Citroën Mehari, a design-classic in its own right - a doorless, convertible vehicle with fabric top favoured by fishermen and coastal and campsite workers in a bygone era.

The Mehari still exists today, of course. You’ll see old examples of them along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coast. The classic Mehari was named after the the fast-running dromedary camel (the mehari) and was produced by the Citroën car manufacturer from 1968 to 1988.

In typical Citroën style, the Mehari was produced with limited colour choices. The options of colours all refer to desert regions; Rouge Hopi, Vert Montana, Beige Kalahari, Orange Kirghiz, Vert Tibersti, Beige Hoggar, Jaune Atacame and Azur.

The Méhari was manufactured during two different periods: 1971 to 1980 by Citroën Argentina who manufactured nearly 4,000 vehicles. Citroën left Argentina following the collapse of the economy in the late 1970s. And then by the ES company (Industrias Eduardo Sal-Lari) in 1984 maintaining practically all the technical characteristics of the original model, but with flared wheel arches and big tyres. The spare wheel was mounted on the hood, thus freeing up the luggage compartment.

The Citroën Mehari has become a classic symbol of France and its automobile industry. The vehicule famously appeared in cinema greats such as “The Omega Man 1971”, “Le Gendarme et les Extra-terrestres 1979”, “Banzai 1983” et “La Vie Aquatic 2004”.

In 2016, manufacturing of the Mehari was re-launched with a limited production of electric, off-road Meharis. Called the E-Mehari, the car is designed with a 68bhp electric motor offering a range of 200 kms. The car is primarily available for the holiday rental market for a gentle summer life on the coast…

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Hugh Atkins

Co-founder of Pure France. 20 years of visiting and photographing fabulous properties, meeting fascinating people and driving every main and back road in France.

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