Citroën Méhari is celebrating its half-century. 50 years after its launch and 2 years after the arrival of E-MEHARI, this out of the ordinary cabriolet remains a symbol of French-style automotive audacity. For this symbolic anniversary, Citroën has called on the designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac to design an exclusive E-MEHARI Art Car, as a strong and chromatic piece, a real graphic expression celebrating 50 years of freedom and 50 years of creation.
May 68 marks the birth of Méhari and the beginnings of the designer, born from the generation who took to the streets of Paris. May 2018 symbolises the collaboration between two talents who find themselves under the banner of the creative revolution that has always driven Citroën and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.
A natural and obvious coming together, as underlined by Arnaud Belloni, Director of Marketing and Communication for the Citroën brand: “Méhari is an icon of Citroën, the ultimate non-conformist car! It was born in May 68 and 50 years on, it remains the embodiment of French-style pop culture. To celebrate this anniversary, we have entrusted Jean-Charles de Castelbajac with its 100% electric worthy successor. The result is a fresh E-MEHARI Art Car with a zest for life. It is the coming together of two worlds which are both as creative as they are revolutionary!”
Through this unique Art Car, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac has made the New Citroën E-MEHARI the emblem of a ‘Made in France’ way of life, optimistic and pop, in the footsteps of unlimited creativity. Because banning is banned, the E-MEHARI art car created by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac awakens creative minds and declares its two reasons for living: art and fashion.
May 1968, at the origins of the legend…
While the younger generation is taking to the streets of Paris in their quest for more freedom with the famous slogan ‘Beneath the cobbles, the beach’ (‘Sous les pavés, la plage’), on 11 May 1968 at Deauville golf course, Citroën unveils a sporty model ahead of its time: Méhari.
Simple, versatile and unpretentious, this out of the ordinary cabriolet with pop colours, built on a Dyane 6 platform, stands out with its colour-impregnated ABS plastic bodywork, thought up by Roland de La Poype. This ingenious and lightweight material (Méhari weighs a mere 525 kg) can take on any form it likes. It is corrosion-resistant, which makes Méhari fully washable with a water jet and makes it the ideal seaside companion.
Another asset: its great modularity with its convertible structure above the beltline, including at the windscreen which folds onto the bonnet. Engineered to easily manoeuvre everywhere, its high-set chassis gives it unprecedented driving qualities. In 1979, its 4X4 version even allows it to overcome slopes of up to 60%. Nothing more was needed to make it a real popular success. Citroën Méhari even becomes a social phenomenon over the years, thanks in particular to a cinema career (first of all in the series ‘Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez’ with Louis de Funès). It also distinguishes itself several times in rallies, in particular Liège-Dakar-Liège in 1969, Paris-Kaboul-Paris in 1970 and also Paris-Dakar in 1980. Citroën Méhari will be produced for 19 years, until 1987, with a total of almost 145,000 units.
Decembre 2015, the saga continues…
Citroën unveils E-MEHARI. A playful nod to the Méhari of 1968, but also much more than that: an optimistic 100% electric, 4-seater cabriolet with a modern and fun style; more than ever a free electron! Connected, uninhibited, quirky, and why not irreverent… There is no shortage of qualifiers to describe E-MEHARI. It is a colourful, impertinent car, which fully fits in with Citroën’s state of mind, an ‘it car’, which is able to attract people looking for differentiation, for optimism, and who are in tune with trends and the environment.
E-MEHARI continues with the codes dear to Citroën and confirms the manufacturer’s desire to offer cars that are different, technological and which represent the jewel of French-style creativity. The LMP® (Lithium Metal Polymer) batteries from the Bolloré Group which are fitted to the electric cabriolet are produced in Brittany, at Quimper, and the car is assembled at Rennes, which makes Citroën E-MEHARI the first electric vehicle certified as ‘French Origin Guaranteed’ (‘Origine France Garantie’).
In January 2018, following on from the ‘Styled by Courrèges’ limited edition, in addition to the famous Soft Top, Citroën E-MEHARI adopts a Hard Top combined with side windows and an opening rear screen, to become a real hatchback able to be driven in all weathers, 365 days a year. It offers a quality interior, totally redesigned in accordance with the Brand’s codes. Its new dashboard with body colour decor and its new seats give it a more modern look and more comfort, while the Easy Entry access makes it easier to get into the rear seats.
It offers the pleasure of electric driving with complete peace of mind with its steel arches and its new safety equipment such as the 4 airbags, the automatic illumination of dipped beam headlamps and also the pedestrian horn. Fun and easy to use on a daily basis, New Citroën E-MEHARI also benefits from the Bluetooth Parrot audio system and central locking. New Citroën E-MEHARI is available from 19,500 euros, after the environmental bonus is deducted.
MAI A RI EN 68… E-MEHARI EN 2018 !
For Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, “Méhari is the most iconic car of its generation.” Much more than just a legend, it is a revolutionary model that he defines by playing with colours, roles and words.
His artistic approach celebrates not one but two revolutions, that of May 68 with its door open on the future, its carefree attitude and its freedom of expression, but also that of the automobile, when Méhari gave birth to leisure, allowing people to leave the city towards new ways of life. Because the word ‘freedom’ is THE cornerstone linking Méhari and the force of a generation, he sees an Art Car as a graphic expression just like a poster from May 68.
In both the colours and the hand-engraved signs, he creates a free Art Car, with symbols which wrap around like a protective wire to guide travellers towards horizons which are sometimes utopian but more often carry the promise of hope, plans and the desire to change the world.
His chromatic work delivers an engaging message with red for revolution and passion, yellow for radiance, the desire to conquer, friendship and fraternity, and blue for electricity, the skies and a positive