CC Outtake: Greetings From Venice – Citroën Méhari

Edward sends us these shots of a Citroën Méhari found on one of the drivable areas of Venice. As well as some complaints about the realities of “modern” Italy, especially in a major tourist trap town. But the sights make overpriced mediocre food and precious internet access worth it, most of the time.

Anyway, good catch; I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in the wild. And one of the more remarkable cars made: about as elemental as it gets. A body made out of rugged ABS plastic sitting on the the 2cv/Dyane 6 chassis. Total weight: some 1300 lbs. Air-cooled 602 cc boxer twin driving the front wheels, and the softest riding Jeep-mobile on the planet. And here’s something I never knew before: it was actually sold in the US, albeit very briefly.

If you’ve never experienced the little Citroen cars’ suspension, especially the rear, it’s truly from another planet. Insanely soft and long travel; you can push it down seemingly with a finger on the back bumper. I remember a 2CV showing up in Iowa City, and my brother and I had it rocking like a pogo stick. Oh, and about the Méhari being sold in the US: wiki says that in 1970, they were imported. With an engine below smog reg limits, and designated a truck, it didn’t need much more than sealed beam headlights, back-up lights, and a couple of other minor modifications. The upshot? Only 214 were sold. No wonder I’ve never seen one over here either.

The Méhari appeared in 1968, four years after the somewhat similar Mini Moke. Unlike the Mini-Moke, the Méhari did find some limited use as a military vehicle. But its real calling in life was as a beach-town mobile.