How’s this for the perfect counterpoint to the ’59 Cadillac in city traffic we saw yesterday? S. Forrest just posted some shots at the Cohort of a couple savoring the joys of minimalist motoring in their two-cylinder Mehari with the windshield flipped down. The perfect vehicle for a balmy summer evening, as one really doesn’t want or need much speed for this purpose.
Here’s another shot as the Mehari pulls away. I can just hear the distinctive throb of its little boxer twin. I’m really digging this car; just the thing for running errand around town in the summer.
Here’s a post I did celebrating the Mehari’s 45th birthday. It’s got some terrific vintage publicity shots with pretty young women from 1968, when the Mehari first saw the light of day, or night.
Nice shots, I came across a couple of these in the South of France last year. Got one in the can too, now it’ll have to wait a while longer to share…
The nighttime suits the character of the shots very well, the car does seem perfect for a hot summer night in the city.
A car that only Citroen could build.Looks like it would be a blast to drive.I want one!
2 years after the Mehari hit the streets the Renaul Rodeo arrived.
I know the Mehari was sold in the US in 1969, but wasn’t it banned in a few countries because the ABS body was flammable?
Nice car – where’s the rest of it?
Love it. Would also like to be able to drive one of those flat bed golf course trucks or a Kei box from Japan.
It looks like it should be called the Citroen Petite Chose (“Little Thing”)! It looks like it would be much like a VW Thing, but smaller and probably even more fun to putt-putt around in.
Really cool nighttime shots. I’d be terrified to see crash-test results of the Mehari, but they’re probably not a whole lot worse than those of a buddy’s 1980 MGB. It looks like any loose items (papers, change, etc.) would be in constant danger of flying out of the car, but I like its simplicity. It looks a little like 2/3 of a VW Thing.
Here’s a Mehari as comic foil in this VW commercial from Germany —
Kinds of looks like a VW Thing/Kubelwagen
Saw one of these in a British-published car book I had as a kid, and they’ve fascinated me since. I’ve never seen one in the metal–wait, make that plastic–though. I didn’t know they were ever sold in this country, though they would have been eligible for import for quite some time!
The Méhari was officially imported to the US in 1969 and 1970, but there aren’t very many left because the plastic body warped and cracked in the sun.
Mehari is named after a type of dromedary camels.
There was also a 4wd version using the diff and gearbox of the Citroen GS.You can tell if its a 4wd Mehari as it has the spare wheel on the bonnet as the diff takes up the spare wheel well. They were apparently unstoppable.Instead of the rugged fbody big engine route Citroen went down the low weight and low first gear route. The French army used quite a few of them.
Never driven one but would love to try one especially the 4wd one.
I’ve had two Meharis, one of which was a 4×4. That particular vehicle was an ex-Irish Army radio car, and had been converted back from 24V to 12V when I got it. The service clocks on the dash had been retained in their position left of the steering wheel.
To clarify the drivetrain: the engine was a standard 602cc 2CV unit, but the gearbox, transfer case, longitudinal driveshaft, and rear diff were unique to the Mehari. Gearboxes are basically 2CV units with lower gearing (which was also a feature of FWD Meharis), a grafted-on transfer case with 4WD and range selection, and a PTO at the rear feeding to the longitudinal driveshaft.
To Citroen’s credit, they built them with a real 4WD system: selectable front- or four-wheel-drive with high- and low-ranges; the rear diff was manually-lockable. Range and FWD/4WD selection was via two additional levers (one with a white knob, one with a red knob) sprouting from the dash either side of the normal 2CV gear lever. Selection for the differential was via a much thinner lever between the seats, which, if engagement or disengagement was being particularly recalcitrant, could be bent with a hard enough shove.
Their climbing ability was pretty much only limited by the angle of the carburettor float and tyres. I’ve owned and driven a large number of 4WD vehicles over the years, and the Mehari 4×4 holds its own surprisingly well in this regard, even when compared to fuel-injected vehicles.
4x4s were never sold in the US, though a couple (and by that I literally mean, ‘a couple’) have made it over. US-model vehicles also received a completely different grille arrangement to standard models, largely to accommodate the 7″ sealed-beam lights that were required for importation at the time.
Trivia: Meharis made two notable movie appearances. The first was in The Omega Man, in which Charlton Heston drives one around post-zombie-apocalypse Los Angeles; the second was in The Muppet Movie, where Kermit and Fozzie’s 1948 Studebaker collides with a Mehari driven by Gonzo, leading to their friendship.
Summer holidays are coming…….wonderfully evocative shots!
Like a French Mini Moke only a success, but its winter here I’ll stick to my closed in Citroen thanx.
That’s Toronto. I recognize the Ambassador Toronto taxi in the background (Camrys have become quite common as cabs here) and the Canadian Tire gas bar in the background. I’ve never seen a Mehari (yet) but I do see an occasional DS and 2CV around. I’ve even seen a couple of SM’s and an Ami 6. Something else to keep an eye out for.
I would love to own a Mehari. Great shots.
I worked in a town outside Philadelphia in the mid ’70’s as a bodyman
There was a car dealer there named Bob Carl, following is a passage from his obit.
From 1967 until he retired in 1990, Mr. Carl owned and operated Bob Carl Subaru Inc., on Baltimore Pike in Media.
“He had a keen interest in unusual vehicles of all types,” said his wife of 40 years, Kathryn M. Enderle Carl. “Early on, he recognized the need for more efficient smaller automobiles. He was a pioneer in the imported automobile business and was one of the first Subaru dealers in the U.S.”
His showroom was a converted craftsman style house, the living room having been given a all glass front wall, which looked out onto the main drag through town, where his offerings occupied the space normally reserved for family get togethers
In addition to the eggshell white Subaru 600 sedans and vans parked in the small front lot, there were also an assortment of lotuses, as Bob was a lotus dealer as well.
How is this all connected to the post?
Well Bob had one of these Citroens and could always be seen tooling around town in it.
He cut a odd image back then, the town was very auto industry centric, the bulk of dealerships and repair shops dealing with detroit offerings of the day, but there was Bob motoring around, running parts and such in his Citroen sitting bolt upright, wiry build, thin mustache, reminded me more of an RAF pilot than a Citroen pilot, but there he was, a true non conformist.
Even though i was into foriegn cars even back then, i had no idea what the vehicle was but remember thinking how odd the 3 lug wheels were!
Now i am motoring around in a renault R5 with……3 lug wheels!
I live on the West Coast now, and not too long ago had one of these Citroens motor past me at a traffic light in Berkeley Ca; I thought “Bob Carl?”, but seeing the date of the obit, i guess not, but then again…….?
I miss the old days. computers-science fiction, phones-with dials, on the desk or on the wall, cool cars and characters-everywhere.
Who knew Yonge St. In Toronto was such a parade of classics?
Nice to see one still in service .
What do you mean “minimalist”? It has doors and appears to have a tailgate. That puts it way up the evolutionary scale from the Mini Moke.
I saw one of these parked when in Nice several years ago and had no idea what it was. Then I took a close look at the plastic body and thought… recycled milk containers? The 2CV suspension was a clue I should have noticed right away…
There is a new “Mehari” , the Cactus M
I just read there is a new “Mehari” , the Cactus M