Citroën's quirky utility vehicle is celebrated in Paris

| 13 May 2013

The 45th anniversary of the Citroën Méhari – named after a Saharan word for camel – is being marked with a special display in the French capital.

The exhibition, in a dedicated area of Citroën's spectacular C-42 showroom on the Champs-Élysées, will illustrate key moments in the oddball design's history since the Diane 6 Méhari was unveiled at Deauville on 16 May 1968.

Created by fighter ace Roland de La Poype, the Méhari was planned as a cheap utility vehicle for the services, businesses and farmers, but it gained popularity as a fun beach car thanks to its ability to open entirely from the waist up, including folding down the ’screen.

Almost 150,000 Méharis were produced over nearly 20 years including a 4WD version from 1979 and two special editions – the  Méhari Beach in Spain and the Méhari Azur in France, Italy and Portugal.

To prove the car's capability, the Méhari was an incongruous sight on a series of international rallies including the 1969  Liège-Dakar-Liège, 1970 Paris-Kabul-Paris and 1971 Paris-Persepolis-Paris rally in 1971.