Citroen is celebrating 45th anniversary of the Mehari

Article by Anita Panait, on May 14, 2013

Citroen is celebrating the 45th anniversary of one of its popular models -- the Méhari. Originally dubbed as the Diane 6 Méhari, the car made its debut on May 16, 1968 in Deauville, France. Designed and built to exude both utility and pleasure, the Méhari could be used to easily transport other objects like a surfboard, for instance.

Citroen Méhari features the economy and versatility of the 2CV, while boasting more contemporary materials. Its lightweight body is molded in Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, making it very malleable and easy to paint on.

The Méhari could also be fully opened above the waistline, including the windscreen, which is folded down onto the bonnet. Citroen built around 150,000 Méharis between 1968 and 1987. Citroen even introduced a 4WD version launched in 1979. The carmaker also offered two special editions - the Méhari Beach in Spain and the Méhari Azur in France, Italy and Portugal.

The Méhari Azur featured a white exterior with blue doors, grille, canvas roof and headlamp surrounds as well as white and blue striped seats. Citroen Méhari models participated in the Liége-Dakar-Liège rally in 1969, the Paris-Kabul-Paris rally in 1970 and the Paris-Persepolis-Paris rally in 1971.

It also provided medical assistance in the 1980 Paris-Dakar. The French army even used the Méhari since its lightweight design made it easy to parachute drop the car behind enemy lines. “Méhari” is a term used in North Africa and the Sahara for dromedary camels whose speed and endurance makes them ideal for the arduous condition in the area. The Citroen Méhari was created by Roland de La Poype, a French fighter ace during World War II and a successful industrialist in the post-war period.

Last month, Citroen introduced the all-new C4 Picasso, which will go on sale this September. The mini-MPV models will boast of a lighter body as well as more frugal engines. The C4 Picasso is underpinned by on the new PSA Group ‘EMP2’ platform that will also underpin the new Peugeot 308. This new platform allows the C4 to be shorter in length by 40 mm, although its interior has become roomier thanks to a longer wheelbase (plus 55 mm).

The new Citroen C4 Picasso boasts of advanced weight-reducing measures such as alloy body parts and a composite rear floor to save as much as 140 kg in kerb weight model-for-model. Other weight-saving measures include the use of an aluminum bonnet and composite tailgate, thereby contributing up to 70 kg in weight savings. According to Citroen, the new C4 Picasso weighs as much as C3 Picasso.

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Topics: citroen, classic car

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