Almost certainly inspired by BMC’s Mini Moke, the Citroën Méhari first appeared in prototype form in 1967 and like its British counterpart was based on a standard production car. In the Citroën’s case it was the Dyane 6 version of the inimitable 2CV so the Méhari featured the latter’s torsion-bar suspension and air-cooled 602cc twin-cylinder engine driving the front wheels. The open body was made of ABS plastic and, like the Moke, a detachable soft-top and side screens served as weather protection.
Taking its name from a type of Camel known for its speed, the Méhari was launched at the Paris Auto Show in October 1968 and would remain in the range for the next 20 years, only disappearing when 2CV production ceased in France in 1988, by which time a total of 144,953 had been made. Of these, only 1,200 or so were the four-wheel drive version like that offered here. Citroën had first applied four-wheel drive to the 2CV back in the mid-1950s with the ‘Sahara’ model, which used a second engine driving the rear wheels independently. Produced from 1980 to 1983, the 4×4 Méhari used the front engine and conventional four-wheel-drive transmission. Most were sold to the French Army and civilian models, like this one, are rare. By all accounts the Méhari 4×4’s generous ground clearance, long-travel suspension, low weight and all-wheel drive made for a most competent off-roader. Some independent specialists have fitted the 2CV body to the Méhari 4×4 chassis to create a conventional four-wheel drive saloon.
This Mehari 4×4 is one of only 2 originally sold in Italy. The car comes to sale in very good conditions and is Italian registered. Surely an opportunity not to be missed to own and drive such a rare and quirky vehicle.