Citroen Celebrates 45th Anniversary of the Mehari

Citroen is marking the 45th anniversary of one of its much-loved models — the Mehari. The Diane 6 Mehari, as it was originally known, was first unveiled on May 16, 1968 in Deauville, France. An unpretentious car built for utility and pleasure, it was designed to be equally at ease transporting hay or surfboards.

The Citroen Mehari was created by Roland de La Poype, who was a French fighter ace during World War II and a successful industrialist in the post-war period. The Mehari carried over the versatility and economy of the 2CV, while featuring more contemporary materials. The innovative lightweight body, molded in ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) was extremely malleable and could be vividly colored. The Mehari’s other key characteristic was that it could be fully opened above the waistline, including the windscreen, which folded down onto the hood.

Almost 150,000 examples were produced between 1968 and 1987. There was even a 4WD version launched in 1979. Just two special editions were released — the Mehari Beach (in Spain) and the Mehari Azur (in France, Italy and Portugal). The Mehari Azur was produced in white with blue doors, grille, canvas roof and headlamp surrounds, plus white and blue striped seats.

Citroen Mehari 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 Mehari 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 — Mehari — 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.

To celebrate the car’s 45th anniversary, Citroen dedicated a special area of its C_42 showcase on the Champs-Élysées in Paris to show key moments from the Mehari’s history. Here are a few in pictures.


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