Plastic Platform: 1970 Citroën Méhari – Sold?
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December 6, 2022, Update – We confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
Following in the footsteps of Henry Ford and his Model T, French automaker Citroën developed its iconic 2CV entry-level car to help motorize the large number of farmers still using horses and carts in 1930s France. The 2CV featured an overall low cost of ownership, simplicity of maintenance, an easily serviced air-cooled engine, and minimal fuel consumption. In addition, it had been designed to cross a freshly plowed field because of France’s great lack of paved roads, with a long-travel suspension system connecting the front and rear wheels, giving a very soft ride.
Fast-forward to the late 1960s, and Citroën leveraged the 2CV’s unique chassis with a color-impregnated ABS plastic body to develop the French answer to England’s Mini Moke, the Méhari. This restored 1970 Citroën Méhari, once listed in October 2022 on Craigslist in Newington, Connecticut (Hartford), is a desirable U.S. spec model featuring many upgrades added during what the seller calls a slow, reverse-engineering exercise.
Once offered for $21,000, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is in line with the one-year rolling average of this guide’s summary for Citroen Meharis produced between 1968 and 1988. By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you evaluate the price of the Mehari featured here:
Known for innovative, out-of-the-box thinking in automotive design, French automaker Citroën developed and produced the Méhari as a lightweight recreational and utility vehicle. Based on innovative, color-impregnated, ABS plastic bodywork, the Méhari weighed approximately 1,200 pounds and featured the fully independent suspension and chassis of Citroën’s beloved 2CV (“Deux Cheveux”) vehicles, using the 602 cc variant of the flat twin petrol engine shared with the 2CV6, Dyane, and Citroën Ami wagon.
Citroën named the vehicle after the fast-running dromedary camel, the méhari, which can be used for racing or transport. Citroën manufactured 144,953 Méharis between the car’s French launch in May 1968 and the end of production in 1988. The Méhari and variants were built in many additional variants (under license or not) in a host of other countries, including versions with fiberglass instead of ABS body, and a two-wheel-drive version featuring a hood-mounted spare wheel.
Citroën marketed the Méhari in the United States for model years 1969–1970, where the vehicle was classified as a truck. As trucks had far more lenient National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safety standards than passenger cars in the US, the Méhari could be sold without seat belts. Budget Rent-A-Car offered them as rentals in Hawaii. In San Simeon, California, Hearst Castle used them as groundskeeper cars. Elvis Presley featured a US Model Méhari prominently in his 1973 Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite broadcast.
Revisions for the US market included: An altered front panel with larger 7″ sealed-beam headlamps, Lateral side marker lights, a special frunk lid with room for a US registration plate, a lamp on either side of it, straight rear bumper. two-speed wiper motor., reversing lights, and hexagonal yellow “cats eyes” on the front and rear sides. While U.S. imports of the Citroën Méhari lasted only two years, production continued relatively unchanged for twenty years through 1988.
The Driving.CA YouTube Channel features this video giving a brief history, technical overview, and perspective of what it’s like to drive a vintage Citreon Mehari:
The few pictures provided appear to be scans of older pictures taken, so you may want to ask the seller about that to see if they can provide updated photographs. With a rebuilt 2CV engine needing some TLC, this 1970 Citroën Méhari for sale offers a rare opportunity for French car enthusiasts. As is typical for ABS-bodied vehicles, the seller reports the original faded red color has been repainted green.
Here’s the seller’s description:
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