Citroen Méhari: Beach Toy

Hardy Mutschler
Citroën Méhari
Subscriptions & booklets

D he sandy path winds between meter-high dunes. It could lead to an Atlantic beach. Or end up in a lonely bay on the Mediterranean. Maybe Tamara and I only get to a quarry pond in the Swabian province on this perfect day. The Citroën Méhari does not care about the destination of the trip.

The candy mobile with the best off-road qualities

The squeaky green Citroën Méhari grows beyond itself on the soft ground and does not even dream of screwing up the tour by getting stuck, for example. How then? At 550 kilos, this plastic car weighs little more than a bobby car. And some self-confident off-roaders shouldn't even venture near the little French in view of the car's excellent traction. Because he could earn scorn and ridicule if he sinks into the sand as helplessly as a piece of lead in water, despite the reduction in speed and various barriers. He loses the sympathy rating against the Citroën Méhari anyway.

Because anyone who appears as inconspicuous and colorful as a Citroën Méhari can never be up to anything bad. The brave heart of the Citroën 2 CV, long canonized by generations of drivers, beats under the bonnet, which is held in place by two leather straps. In 1968, Citroën put this terse and cute plastic body with a corrugated iron look on its chassis, with no doors. Two ropes had to be enough for the passengers in the first row to find support, at least symbolically. Quite brave with a car whose body roll, even in slow curves, still causes sheer horror in observers at the roadside.

But a Döschewo does not tip over, we have known that for six decades. So you don't have to worry in a Citroën Méhari either. Very few people we meet on this day know that it is descended from the duck. Even the classification in a category seems to be difficult with the Citroën Méhari. Off-road vehicle? Buggy? Or maybe a pick-up (because the model is missing the rear bench seat and the car has a corresponding tailgate)? One person spontaneously taps the Citroën Méhari into self-construction and is amazed that there should have been around 145,000 copies.

Too easily flammable in Germany

Southern France was the preferred area of ​​this car, which was named after aNorth African racing dromedary and which was even offered with four-wheel drive. Farmers transported their goods to the nearest market in the Citroën Méhari, surfers their boards to the sea and soldiers their equipment into the field. They all probably laugh themselves half dead when they learn why the German authorities have officially refused this vehicle approval for use on the local roads to this day: The plastic structure is considered too easily flammable.

Only a few Citroën Méhari ( which were also used as fire service vehicles in France!) reached Germany by individual purchase with the help of committed dealers. For a good car you should expect from around 8,500 euros, but some of the Citroën Méhari's gems are well over 10,000 euros. Further down to the beach. In a good mood and alternately in second and third gear, to keep the small two-cylinder boxer engine in the Citroën Méhari at somewhere between 3,000 and 7,000 revs. There is a maximum of 28 hp - often only full throttle helps, with which the engine and driver have no problems. Three red markings in the speedometer indicate when the next gear should be pushed in or pulled out using a crutch. It works very smoothly.

Unbeatable: the fresh air pleasure

Inexperienced users can take a look at the gearshift diagram, which is shown between the speedometer and fuel gauge to be on the safe side. In addition to the speed display, there is also a push button to start the engine and a switch each for windshield wipers and hazard warning lights. Lights and indicators are prescribed by law and are each operated with a little lever shyly protruding from the steering column. Heating and ventilation nozzles, on the other hand, are booked as pure luxury. A Citroën Méhari is more drafty than an open-top modern convertible, even with the hood construction made of plastic sheeting open.

But this superstructure is avoided for optical reasons. And lets the front window of the Citroën Méhari rest on the bonnet. Only a few deep grooves in the sand separate us from the beach. No more serious challenge for the chassis with the wheels suspended from four curved swing arms. Then the path ends. Between meter-high dunes in front of shimmering turquoise water. This is what it could look like on the Atlantic. Or in a lonely bay on the Mediterranean. Maybe we are just at a Swabian quarry pond. But that doesn't matter on a day like this.


Leave a reply

Name *