Keith’s Blog: When It’s Time for a Car to Go

We’ve decided that our time with the SCM Mehari has come to an end.

A couple of Alfas are coming out of restoration, so we need to free up some space in the garage.

We’ve enjoyed the Mehari — and we’ve done quite a bit to make it a very good driver (all things in context, of course). It has been tuned, electronic ignition installed, the shift-linkage bushings replaced, and the brakes properly set up. It’s actually quite fun for motoring around town.

We put in a stereo — and set our Pandora channel to “French Café Music.”

Legend has it this is one of a group of Meharis sold to Budget-Rent-A-Car in Maui back in the 1970s. The program failed when inebriated golfers kept falling out of the cars (there are no doors).

Last year we drove the Mehari 60 miles in a day from SCM Headquarters in Portland, OR to the Forest Grove Concours Wine Tour and back.

Parker Collier said she knew we were coming from the sound of  “French plastic flapping in the wind.”

Those were the best 60 miles we are likely to have with the car, so it can leave the fleet.

The cars that are long-term keepers tend to be multi-faceted. They are cars that we can use locally — but also take on longer tours. Even our little Bugeye can cruise comfortably at 60 mph for relatively long distances. That can’t be said about the Mehari.

The Mehari’s best use is for short-trip fun — or perhaps stored on the deck of your mega-yacht for use in Monaco during the vintage races.

Several years ago, when we bought three MGBs to drive to the MG National Convention in Reno, we decided to sell them after the event. By driving them the 500 miles to Reno from Portland, we had gotten the best 500 miles we were going to get from these cars. We have other sports cars in our stable that cruise and handle better. So off they went.

Selling this plastic-bodied 2CV (yes, it has the big-block 603-cc engine) gives us a slot for the Sprint Speciale when it is finished, cuts our insurance bill slightly, and simply gives us one less machine to worry about.

The Mehari could be the perfect candidate for a road trip to nearly anywhere. If you stick to back roads and 55 mph, I believe you could chug along for hundreds if not thousands of miles. Fly in and drive it home!

We have about $15,000 all-told “invested” in this diminutive machine. I haven’t checked the Mehari Market Letter for the latest market updates, so I’m open to your offers. If you’re interested, drop me a note at keith.martin@sportscarmarket.com

Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market and bi-monthly American Car Collector magazines, has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and has his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity.

Posted in Blogs, Keith Martin

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  1. When I was the parts manager at an Alfa, Triumph, Citroen dealership in Houston in the 70’s, we had a Mehari as a shop shuttle to pick up parts, or drop off owners around our part of town. On the semi-frequent occasions that it would get pranged, we used a butane torch to warm the plastic and bend it back where it belonged.

    There was a rumor that Citroen would pay a million Francs (I don’t recall what that would have equaled in 1973 dollars) to anyone that could flip one over driving on a flat surface. We tried. It would just lean over and scrub off whatever speed remained.

    I used to want one just to see if I could achieve the flip-over, but I doubt Citroen would pay up at this point. Or worse, do so in Francs.

  2. I was a Citroen dealer in New Orleans. I loved the DS and the SM and kind of accepted the 2CV as a novelty car not really suitable for the US market. I was coerced by Citroen to buy two Meharis and remember thinking “How am I going to get rid of these things”. Finally did after about a year, probably for a loss.

  3. We would LOVE to see your beautiful Mehari at the Italian-French Car Show on Father’s Day Sunday, June 18th, at Waterfront Park in North Vancouver, BC Canada! If you leave now you’ll make it! 🙂 >>