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Citroen Mehari: Buying guide and review (1968-1988)

Citroen Mehari: Buying guide and review (1968-1988) Classic and Performance Car
Citroen Mehari Citroen Mehari Citroen Mehari Citroen Mehari Citroen Mehari Citroen Mehari
The Citroen Mehari is a perfectly distilled motoring experience. Based on the Citroen 2CV, more specifically the Dyane 6, it had the bare minimum of equipment and featured a body made from ABS plastic – a world first for a production car. 

The simple yet rugged mechanicals and go-anywhere suspension endeared the Mehari to generations of motorists, and it sold well. Its popularity continues to this day, and the wide availability of parts and spares makes it a low-risk classic car that still offers a level of driving enjoyment that is at odds with its modest underpinnings.

Which Mehari to buy?

The Mehari was introduced in 1968 and remained largely unchanged for the duration of its 20-year production life. There were a few minor modifications, and as the first batch of cars had no side doors, fabric flaps could be zipped in place when the roof was up. Some cars had aftermarket seatbelts fitted but that was about the extent of the safety equipment available.

From 1970-on, plastic doors were introduced and a full plastic top was an optional extra. You could also buy a two-seater version. In 1978 some updates were carried out to the frontal styling and dashboard design and these were the last major changes until production ended. 

A 4x4 Mehari was introduced in 1979 and was built in limited numbers until 1983, these are highly sought after, although mechanical parts are not nearly as easy to source. Unique features included four-wheel disc brakes, a three-speed transfer box and optional flared arches. Larger tyres were made available in 1982.

The ABS plastic body was impregnated with the desired body colour during production and a limited range of colours were offered over the years, restored cars can be painted in a specialist primer which should resist fading better than the original. The majority of Meharis still reside in France so you may need to cast your search wider than the UK if you are struggling to find the right car. 

The bare-basics nature of the Mehari makes it a car that is easy to repair and maintain, forget mileages and model years, rather focus on the overall condition and quality of any rebuild work. 

Performance and specs

Engine  602cc 4-valve OHV flat-twin
Power 29bhp @ 5750rpm  
Torque 28.8lb ft @ 3500rpm
Transmission Four-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
0-60mph 28 seconds
Top speed 75mph
Insurance group   -
Fuel consumption  45mpg
Price when new  -

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase              2400mm
Length 3520mm
Width 1530mm
Height 1640mm
Weight 570kg

Common problems

• One of the big drawcards of these little cars is their simplicity and repairability. The ABS body is tough and can be repaired or indeed replaced entirely. Thanks to the 2CV underpinnings, there are also a number of specialists ready to supply you with just about every component you may require.

• The Mehari used the 29bhp 602cc flat twin engine as found in the 2CV6 and requires regular oil changes (every 3000 miles) to keep running smoothly. Rough running and hard starting may need further inspection as this could indicate broken piston rings or worn valve stem seals.

• The gearbox is a dog-leg four-speed unit and changes should be effortless and smooth. Third-gear synchros can become crunchy over time so make sure it engages without issue.

• The suspension is rugged and should not require much maintenance other than greasing the kingpins every 600 to 1000 miles or so. A squeaking sound when going over bumps is a trait of the unique interconnected front/rear suspension setup.

• The braking system is a simple drum setup on cars built before 1981 while Meharis built after this point received front discs. Both should be trouble-free although getting to the inboard front brakes can be a bit of a fiddle. 4x4 models had discs all-round.

• The original ABS body was impregnated with the body colour during production and this tends to fade over time. Repainting is possible and if the actual body is damaged beyond repair, full replacement ABS bodies can be bought. These are solely in white though so will need to be painted the desired colour.

• The body may not rust or rot but the chassis sure can, be sure to check under the car for any signs of corrosion or botched welding jobs. This can be a labour-intensive job if repairs are needed, although new chassis, or repair sections can be bought off the shelf.

Model history

1968: Citroen Mehari introduced as bare-bones convertible buggy with world-first ABS body construction. Mechanicals based on 29bhp 602cc Citroen Dyane which – essentially an updated 2CV. Launch colours were Rouge Hopi (Red), Vert Montana (Green) and Kalahari (Beige).
1969: Mehari introduced into the USA with slight modifications to headlights. Orange body colour introduced.
1970: American Mehari production ends. Plastic doors and optional plastic top introduced.
1976: Lime green body colour introduced.
1978: Dashboard and front end receive styling update.
1979: Mehari 4x4 introduced, features three-speed transfer box and disc brakes all-round.
1980: Atacama yellow body colour introduced.
1983: Mehari 4x4 production ends with approximately 1300 units built. Azure Blue colour introduced for a limited period.
1988: Mehari production ends with just under 150,000 units being built.

Owners clubs, forums and websites

www.the2cvshop.co.uk - Spares
www.mehariclub.com – Mehari owner’s club
www.mehari-2cv-spare.co.uk  – Mehari and 2CV spares

Summary and prices

Despite their simplicity, Meharis are no bargain basement classic, their popularity means that even relatively poor condition examples are around £5000. A clean original car starts at anything from £10,000 up to £23,000 for a fully rebuilt example with new body and overhauled mechanicals. Projects can be found for peanuts just make sure that the chassis is not too far gone as this is can significantly affect the final restoration cost.

The 4x4 models are in another category altogether, their rarity means that few ever come up for sale, one immaculate example sold for £35,000 at a Bonhams auction a few years ago, so expect that value to have risen in the intervening years. Whether you want an immaculate low-miler or a well-used example, the Mehari is a fantastic classic to own and enjoy.

Words: John Tallodi
Citroen Mehari Citroen Mehari Citroen Mehari Citroen Mehari Citroen Mehari Citroen Mehari
Last updated: 19th Mar 2018
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Citroen Mehari
13995 19950 GBP
  • Citroën - Mehari - 1975 - NO RESERVE

    €3,295 - €4,283.50 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €3,295 - €4,283.50 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    Online Auction
    €3,295 - €4,283.50 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €3,295 - €4,283.50 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    Catawiki Auctions
  • Citroën - Mehari - 1976

    €8,501 - €11,051.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €8,501 - €11,051.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
    Online Auction
    €8,501 - €11,051.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.) €8,501 - €11,051.30 est. (£0 - £0 est.)
    Auction Date: 01 Jan 1970
  • Citroen Mehari 1976

    €19,950(£0) €19,950(£0)

    Citroen Mehari 1976, first owner, 11.000 kms This in 1976 delivered Citroen Mehari is from the first owner. This fabulous Mehari has Tibesti green paint, combined with original wheels. The interior has black leatherette and the original dashboard in the colour of the paint. Driven 11.000 kms, not detectable, but the car gives the impression that this may be right. This Citroen drives great and takes care of a lot of fun. Car has Italian title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any import taxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1976
    For sale
    €19,950(£0) €19,950(£0)
  • Citroen Mehari

    £13,995 £13,995

    *SIMILAR QUALITY CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. A delightful Citroen Dyane 6 Méhari with fully traceable history from new. EQUIPMENT Acrylonitrile Buadiene Styrene, (ABS), thermo plastic body and panels, 2+2 seating, tubular frame, two-piece rigid fibreglass top, folding tailgate, folding front screen, full side screens, bonnet straps, spare wheel, removable folding bench, lockable glovebox. Accessories: rear fog light, 12v power supply, seatbelts front and rear, rear storage box, Citroen rubber floor mats, mudflaps. MODEL HISTORY In May 1968 the Dyane 6 Méhari, an all-terrain, multi-purpose platform-type pick-up was unveiled to the automotive world. Named after a fast-running dromedary camel the Méhari was based on a Citroen Dyane 6 platform and shared mechanicals with the 2CV6 and the Ami. Over a nineteen-year career a total of 144,953 units were made and it has now gained iconic status globally. EXTERIOR Eleven corrugated ABS thermo plastic panels are finished in vibrant Kirghiz Orange which look striking at any angle. Having won awards several times at the 2cvGB and Citroen Car Club events, the finish is spectacular thanks to a dedicated, well respected long-term custodian and his upkeep. Master Class Awards and Concours prizes both prior and after a panel colour change in 1995 proves the quality of workmanship. The original unwelded chassis has been thoroughly wax-oyled on the top, undersealed underneath, and extensively oiled inside and the space frame has been undersealed on the outside and filled with wax-oyl internally. Minor stress lines are visible on a few fixing points and original features remain in fixed such as the stainless steel wiper arms. This is an exceptional example and certain to delight the next Citroen connoisseur. INTERIOR Utilitarian brilliance is demonstrated from Citroen, a maker renowned for their forward thinking innovation and dare to be different mentality. The replaced seat coverings are perfect with just a minor split to the drivers side and this genuine four seater can easily be transformed into a capable utility vehicle. Incredibly the floor remains bare ABS revealing the excellent condition of the body tub and genuine Citroen rubber mats have been fitted from new. Practical accessories such as a 12v power supply, lockable rear box and headrests join playful features including a vintage Solido scale model in a matching colour on the dashboard. All controls operate as they should along with the LNA type instrument panel. Smiles and laughter guaranteed! ENGINE & TRANSMISSION The flat-twin air cooled two cylinder 602cc engine produces 32bhp to offer a top speed of 65mph and 0-60mph in 30secs. Meticulous maintenance from the knowledgeable owner to the original engine helps ensure mechanical reliability. New 9:1 pistons, rings and barrels have been installed and the valves have been cleaned and checked. The push rod seals are new and a new engine breather has been installed. The feather weight bonnet lifts to reveal a spotless engine bay guaranteed to please the show exhibitionist. The 4-speed synchro ‘push me pull you’ transmission operates exactly as it should having benefited from the clutch, back-plate, bearing and clutch cable all being replaced. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES All five wheels have rare Citroen accessory wheel trims fitted shod in matching 135/80 R15 tyres. Later version inboard front discs and drums at the rear, all overhauled, combined with a vehicle weighing just 555kg, braking is impressive. HISTORY FILE First registered on the 27th January 1981 by Lovekyn Garages Ltd in Kingston-On-Thames as a new vehicle, this Belgium built Citroen Méhari was then supplied by them four days later to a Mr Alfred Keith Waller. The New Vehicle Sales Invoice reveals a total price of £2,650 being paid by Mr Waller who remained the owner until November 1987 before selling the car for £950 to Mr Anthony Shaw. Mr Shaw purchased the vehicle for his son, Jonathan Edward Shaw, who remained the dedicated custodian and enthusiast for 30 years until selling the car to a fellow enthusiast in April 2017, Mr Robert Sansome. A truly spectacular history file with numerous insertions in the Citroenian car club magazine and 2cvGB News tracks noticeable awards such as the 1992 Stratford ‘A’ Series Concours winner and 1999 Master Class Award winner. On display at numerous Registers the following extract written by the current 2cvGB club Méhari Registrar in the April 2017 2cvGB News provides an insight; ‘XGH 616W is Jonathans lovely Méhari. As you may have seen over the monthly Missives, it is one of the longest continuously owned and driven Méharis in the UK. Jonathan has restored and rebuilt it to an exceptional standard’ The large history folder contains receipts and invoices from Méhari specialists and the original handbook and service book along with all keys are present. A historically important slice of Citroen history and wonderful in every respect. MOT March 2018, HPI clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/am_lxUN60Ys To see a full set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm2H2bRg 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1981
    • Mileage: 16957 mi
    • Engine size: 0.6
    For sale
    £13,995 £13,995
  • Citroën Mehari '83

    €18,950(£0) €18,950(£0)

    29Hp >>>>> Oldtimerfarm specializes in consignment sales of vintage and collection cars and we are proud to present you this car. Oldtimerfarm is located in Belgium, 9880 Aalter, Steenweg op Deinze 51C, where this car is in our showroom. We are open from Tuesday to Saturday 10-17h (also without appointment). We are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Mondays on appointment only. Make sure you scroll down to look at the extensive photo report (100 pictures). Of course, a more detailed description can be obtained by telephone. Contact us: Xavier: 0032 472 40 1338 (NL, FR, DE, EN, IT) info@oldtimerfarm.be Olivier: 0032 473 11 7300 (NL, FR, DE, EN) olivier@oldtimerfarm.be Oldtimerfarm from Aalter would also like to sell your classic car or car collection. For more information, please contact Xavier. Exhibitions where you can find us: Pictures of the car:

    • Year: 1983
    For sale
    €18,950(£0) €18,950(£0)