The Mega Tjaffer is the Customizable Plastic Pseudo-Citroën of My Dreams

Illustration for article titled The Mega Tjaffer is the Customizable Plastic Pseudo-Citroën of My Dreams
Photo: Wikimedia

Have you ever wanted a car that you could easily take apart because it was, basically, just a Barbie Jeep based on a Citroën AX that somehow became road legal? Well, folks, the Mega Tjaffer would have been the right car for you.


The Mega Tjaffer—also known as the Mega Club, Mega Cabriolet, or Mega Ranch—was produced from 1992 to ‘98 by French microcar specialists Aixam. Despite being manufactured in France, it was pretty popular in the Netherlands (hence where ‘Tjaffer’ came from).

At its most basic, the Tjaffer is a plastic Citroën AX body slapped on a galvanized metal chassis. The beauty of that whole plastic thing was the fact that these bad boys were customizable because most of the superstructure was easily removable. You could take off the roof panels, the doors, the entire rear structure—hell, you could even pop out the dashboard, control buttons, seats, and steering wheel. Everything was held together with push buttons and zippers. No tools required.

That made for one heck of a versatile car. Pop off the doors and the roof, and you’ve got a neat beach car. Take off the top of the rear end and you’ve got an itty bitty pickup. Put the bad boy together and it becomes a nice commuter car, perfect for your everyday driving. Buy two in different colors and you’ve got mix-and-match pieces.

If you’re looking at this and saying, “isn’t that basically a Citroën Méhari?” you would not be incorrect. The Tjaffer and Méhari are both pretty similar, but the Tjaffer contains more bodywork. Sure, you could throw a soft-top roof on the Méhari, but that was nothing compared to the actual plastic roof of the Tjaffer.

The specs of this tiny thing is absolutely precious. You could choose between a 1.1 or 1.4 liter gasoline engine or a 1.5 liter diesel engine. While it was normally a front-wheel drive car, there was a 4x4 model available that you couldn’t even really take off-road because the poor car just couldn’t handle it. You’d have better luck on mud or snow than in your average microcar—just don’t get any funny ideas.

It’s also pretty important to note that, uh, when you bought the thing, it didn’t actually come with a roof or doors. Those were part of a separate Wind & Waterproof package. So, the $14,000 you were spending on the most basic 1.1 liter engine didn’t even come with a whole entire car!


Getting your hands on one of these cuties today can be pretty hard, given that there were only about 150 models sold, all of them in the Netherlands. But I’m not going to lie—I’d do a whole lot of ridiculous things to get my hands on a plastic sorta-off-road pseudo-Citroën.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.


Gaseous Clay

I like it! It looks absolutely awful to drive, but mostly I wanna see just how incapable the 4x4 is. I really want to see it push the lower boundaries of usefulness (and I also want a camera on the guy driving the real truck with the winch on it that will have to go everywhere with me)