Citroen has confirmed it will revive the classic Mehari off-roader, at least in spirit, with a new C4 Cactus SUV-based concept at next month’s Frankfurt motor show.
The brainchild of Roland de la Poype, a French fighter pilot in World War 2 and later the head of one of Citroen’s major plastics suppliers, the Mehari first appeared in the 1960s.
That relationship played a major role in the Mehari’s conception, developed initially by de la Poype’s Société d’Etudes et d’Applications des Plastiques for presentation to Citroen.
Citroen produced more than 7000 examples of the plastic-bodied Mehari for the French army, and a small number also saw duty with the Irish Defence Forces. Consumer versions were also offered, including runs in the US and South America.
In all, Citroen manufactured more than 140,000 of the 2CV-based Meharis before production wound up in 1988.
Details on the coming new concept are thin on the ground, with Citroen promising only that it will revisit the Mehari with a “fresh and invigorating” version of the C4 Cactus SUV – itself due in Australia later this year.
Expect the concept to feature a topless design and, as with the regular production version of the Cactus, a thoroughly modernised quirkiness to its styling.
Don’t be surprised if Citroen’s 2010 Lacoste concept, developed in partnership with the iconic tennis brand, also provides something of a preview.
Top image by Magnus Gertkemper, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 de via Wikimedia Commons.