1969 Citroen Mehari: Plastic Party

69 Citroen Mehari

There are few cars that put a smile on my face more easily than the Citroen Mehari. I spotted one years ago at an auction in New Hampshire and have been captivated by them ever since. This just-discovered example is a 1969 model here on craigslist in Seattle for $5,000 and still runs despite sitting idle in a carport for 20 years. The body appears to be intact, much better than the one I saw that had snapped in half – the body is plastic, and rides on a steel frame with mechanicals similar to a Citroen CV2. Therefore, parts supply should be decent aside from that oddball body which will be near impossible to replace if it’s damaged. This could be a great basis for a project if you’re on the hunt for a vintage Jeep alternative, and you’ll likely never see yourself coming down the road. Have any of you ever driven one?

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Comments

  1. Hector

    The Citroën Méhari and its “oddball body which will be near impossible to replace if it’s damaged” is in fact almost completely buildable as a kit from new parts including every bit of its plastic shell (made from original Citroen tooling!). Granted, there are few US based sources, but if you join one of the European 2CV/Méhari clubs that offer parts and figure in you built in discount from not having to pay VAT, shipping from the UK or the Netherlands becomes not such a big deal. A complete white paintable ABS plastic body shell at club prices minus VAT can be had for about £800, and at the higher end, an ASA plastic body (stays flexible) with the color thru and thru can be had for about £1500. Today £1 = US $1.54.

  2. Richard Lewis

    These are very light and completely off-roadable. As far as street usage there is minimal safety protection. Kind of like a French Mini-Moke.

    I saw one climb a major grade. The bodies can be very brittle but as another poster said – the parts do exist. The mechanical parts are available in the US.

  3. Matt Tritt

    Meharis are actually a 2 CV with virtually no mechanical differences. The REAL off-road 2 CV was the 2 CV Sahara that had 2 X 2 cylinder engines; one in the usual place and one where the boot should be. They were used by the French Foreign Legion in North Africa and in VietNam and are virtually impossible to get stuck. The odd(est) thing about them is that the engines and transmissions are autonomous, except for the throttle connections. :)

  4. Matt Tritt

    BTW, an unrestored Sahara sold in 2012 through Hemmings for $142,000. I guess THAT window closed a long time ago!

  5. John

    I love 2CV and even more especially Meharis. I have driven many over the years. I never cease to be amazed that they turn up in the USA! The USA is one country I might be scared to drive one in as there is no crash protection to speak of and if a truck or SUV rear ends or T bones you is going to kill you. All parts are available. Including made in England new chassis, which means it is often simpler and better to just switch out the chassis especially as the new ones are galvanised. Engines in Europe are often measly 400 cc but the much more drivable 600 is an easy switch, as is changing to front disc brakes. They are huge fun to drive, and despite rolling a lot have a very controllable but easy transition into an opposite lock slide…if the road conditions are icy enough or wet enough. Alarming to onlookers though! Mehari prices are all over the pace in Europe indicating something on the climb, a good 2CV is now using £3000 $5000, but a good Mehari can be £9000 around $12000. Vans are the most expensive to restore and a good one is up with the Mehari on price.Wildest I have seen is a Citroen GS 1220 engine conversion! Wow bet that shifted ! A dark blue van with no obvious indications of what a sleeper it is. You could do that to a Mehari too… Best time to buy one in Europe is winter time as people get fed up with them. The side screens are effective though. Really though it is a run around shopping and errand car but all the more fun for that with no synchro on first gear. I would be unlikely to contemplate more than short journeys in one and preferably roads where speeds are low. On the Highway, Maximum cruising speed is around the same as a 56 mph limited semi so that makes highway journeys unpleasant, and drive slower with semis cruising past you, the little thing will feel like it is being blown off the road. You can slipstream a semi but that gets dangerous as you cant see where you are going at all. Downhill I saw an indicated 70 mph once in a 2CV….but when the road levelled the speed dropped back to 60 mph. If they are rough like this one, be prepared to rebuild everything. Then wait as your now smart little investment runs a profit. In my opinion this rough little thing needs everything and is miles too much money. A decent one in USA recently sold for $2500 which almost had me ready to ship it to Europe, making this one really not worth much over $1000 quite possibly less. I hope you have enjoyed my opinion.

  6. Jos

    Forget cleaning the paint with acetone, it will dissolve the plastic body.

  7. David Cherrick

    My wife and I owned this car. We bought it in 73 when we lived in the Redondo Beach, CA, then we moved to Mt. Vernon, WA with the little Mehari. Later we moved to Anacortes, WA. When Honda Motor Co transferred me to Texas in 1987 we sold the car. We originally bought the car for $500 and then later sold it for $800. The ABS body is broken and cracked under the pedals. Further, the inside body panel next to the driver’s hip is broken and cracked. When I sold it in 1987 it ran well and was in good mechanical shape. I think the asking price is crazy considering the body condition, paint added to the body, and the mechcanicaals that will be needed.

  8. Cameron

    I can’t tell from the pic but I’m wondering if that one in the pic has an aluminum hood. If so, it may be the one my father had while I was a kid. The one we had didn’t have the original engine. The original had died and my father chose to swap in a Subaru engine.

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