45 Fun Facts About The Birthday Boy Citroën MéhariS

Citroën's funky little off-roader celebrates its 45th birthday this week, and while this picture says it all, it's worth to look at the fun side of this rolling deathtrap we would all love to have.

Fun facts about the Citroën Méhari:

1: You need not less than two special characters to write down its name properly.

2: Still, at its launch in 1968, its full name was Diane 6 Méhari.

3: It had ABS, but that stood for Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, the material used for the body panels.

4: Two beige paints were offered. Beige Kalahari until 1977, Beige Hoggar onwards.

5: Still, you want it in Vert Tibesti.

6: Orange Kirghiz was also awesome.

7: The guy who created it was called Roland de La Poype. Apparently, he was a fighter ace during World War II.

8: It uses a tubular frame, just like a Countach.

45 Fun Facts About The Birthday Boy Citroën MéhariS

9: The Méhari Azur was produced in white with blue doors, grille, canvas roof and headlamp surrounds, plus white and blue striped seats. That late version is the rarest.

10: The only color remaining in production for the entire run was the dark green Vert Montana.

11: It was a medical vehicle at the 1980 Paris-Dakar Rally. Oh boy.

12: Brave chaps entered the Liége-Dakar-Liège rally in 1969, the Paris-Kabul-Paris rally in 1970 and the Paris-Persepolis-Paris rally in 1971 with Méharis.

13: They did not win.

14: The French army put 24V electrical system in them, and threw Méharis off airplanes for combat duty.

15: The Méhari name comes from the toughest sahara camels out there.

16: They sold more than 150,000.

17: The Renault Rodeo had nothing on the Méhari.

45 Fun Facts About The Birthday Boy Citroën MéhariS

18: The suspension came from the Citroën 2CV, the Rolls-Royce of French peasants.

19: It weights 1,300 pounds. Much less than my Autobianchi A112.

20: 29 horsepower deal with that from a 602 cc flat-two.

21: McLaren F1 boss Martin Whitmarsh has one.

22: You could get it with four-wheel drive from 1980-83.

23: The Méhari has no seat belts.

24: You could catch one in the 1971 Charlton Heston movie The Omega Man.

25: Sold as a truck, only 214 made it to the US in 1970.

26: Children love it.

45 Fun Facts About The Birthday Boy Citroën MéhariS

27: The Méhari Beach was a special edition only for Spain. French surfers had to use a regular one.

28: The lamps were made by Lucas, the company which has ruined British cars for good.

29: American Méharis got a two-speed wiper motor for more rain action.

30: Argentinian Méharis got fiberglass bodies instead of ABS. It was cheaper.

31: Those were in fact made in Uruguay.

32: Replacement body parts are all white instead of the original colored ABS, so you have to paint them.

33: Only 381 were made in 1987, the last year of production.

34: The Irish Defence Forces bought 12 in the seventies.

35: They realized it was a bad choice and auctioned them off in 1985.

36: The windscreen can be folded down onto the bonnet.

37: Citroën had fantastic print advertisements at the time:

45 Fun Facts About The Birthday Boy Citroën MéhariS

38: No, it couldn't take an elephant.

39: The 1967 prototype was made using an 2CV Furgoneta chassis and cardboard.

40: In 1974, the steering wheel got brown from gray.

41: The optional plastic hard top almost made it waterproof.

42: Peugeot launched its flagship 504 against the Méhari at the 1968 Paris Motor Show.

43: You have to use a very slow shutter speed to make it look fast:

45 Fun Facts About The Birthday Boy Citroën MéhariS

44: In short, the Méhari is 11 body panels and 2CV mechanics.

45: Girls love it.

Photo credit: Citroën, Harry Alverson, Alfred Bina and John Lloyd