A variant of the famed 2CV, the plastic-bodied Mehari is a wonderful example of the kind of aesthetic that results from a design point of view which is more concerned with materials, end use scenarios, manufacturing processes, and — above all — cost, rather than with the vagaries of style. It’s the same type of point of view that gave us such classics as the original Jeep, Land Rover, and Mini. When done in a more conscious mode, it’s really hard to do this kind of design.
The new Mini does a good job of it, but modern Jeeps just don’t have it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a modern Mehari? Maybe it will happen.
I’m very emotional about the Mehari. For me, it’s evocative of the summer I spent as a boy staying with family in Spain. My uncle Valentin Sama took me on a whirlwind tour of Southern Spain (in the summer, in a SEAT Panda, with three other people and our luggage and two dogs, and of course, no A/C. We were hot) which included a few days relaxing in Agua Amarga. Your quintessential fishing village with no phones, lots of beach dogs, and more than a few Meharis.
I spent hours in Agua Amarga looking at an orange Mehari and a red 2CV. Those two made for an aesthetic feast from Mars for this suburban Colorado boy. I’m still figuring out how to get back there.