Citroën Méhari Turns 45

Citroen Mehari grass

If you've ever heard people describe French carmakerCitron as quirky and wondered why they have such a reputation, take a look at some of the pictures on this page.

Yep,Citron really did make such a car. It's called the Mhari, and the car is this week celebrating its 45th anniversary, originally unveiled in the picturesque surroundings of Deauville, in Normandy.

Possibly the world's first lifestyle vehicle, the Mhari was designed by French World War 2 fighter ace Roland de La Poype to be both a utility vehicle and for leisure time - at home carrying you to the beach or dragging loads around a farm.

Citroen Mehari beach

Several vehicles have been named after creatures before, but the Mhari takes its unusual moniker from an even more unusual source:a species of dromedary camel used for racing and transport.

It used the very utilitarian underpinnings of the contemporary Dyane 6 and twin-cylinder air-cooled engines from the 2CV6. With an entirely ABS plastic body and the ability to strip it right down to the waist, it provided a go-anywhere, do-anything and fully convertible driving experience.

Citroen Mehari rally

A production run of 150,000 cars appeared over the 19 year lifespan of the car, including just over a thousand Mhari 4x4s. With four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and a low ratio gearbox but still retaining a weight less than two thirds of a tonne, the 4x4 Mhari could go almost anywhere.

Putting this to the test, the Mhari has competed in several transcontinental rallies, including Paris-Kabul-Paris and Liege-Dakar-Liege - and provided medical support for the 1980 Paris-Dakar, the world's toughest regular race.

Citroen Mehari rally

Conclusion

TheMhari doesn't really have a modern counterpart in theCitron range. In spirit the Berlingo Multispace is probably closest, with its basic engine range and utilitarian nature - but you'd probably not take it on the beach, and even with a glass sunroof you'd not quite get the wind in the hair feeling offered by theMhari.

For the occasion of the Mharis anniversary, there's a special, celebratory area at the Citron museum on the Champs-lyses in Paris dedicated to key moments from the its history. It'll be well worth a visit if you're in or around Paris right now.

For more information check out our full summary of the Citron Berlingo Multispacealongside reviews, stats, photos and videos!

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