Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weekend Quickies - Saturday March 27, 2010

Back on March 4, I wrote a post about a Mini Moke. BMC wasn't the only company to create a recreation vehicle out of a small car. Here are a couple more...

1971 Citroen Mehari - This car is most likely a 1970 that wasn't sold and titled until 1971. US spec Meharis were only sold in the US in 1969 & 1970.

From the Citroen Concours of America website:

Citroen believed its plastic-bodied 2-cylinder air-cooled Mehari could be a hit with the beach communities in California, Florida and Hawaii. Officially imported in 1969 and 1970, the Mehari did have some limited sales success. Budget Rent-A-Car bought a number of them and offered them as rentals in Hawaii. Hearst Castle, in San Simeon California, used them as groundskeeper cars throughout the 1970s and several hundred were sold to budget minded buyers who were attracted to the Mehari's fun image. Unfortunately, Mehari's open plastic body, which attracted the sun-and-fun crowd to purchase the car, was also its Achilles' heel. The plastic body did not fare well under the sun's constant exposure. Most of the remaining Meharis suffer from cracked plastic body panels and bad fading of the body color (the color was injected into the Mehari's plastic panels). Fortunately, replacement panels can be bought from a supplier in France and most mechanical parts are interchangeable with the more common 2CV.

This car needs a complete restoration. It might be cheaper to import a finished one from Europe, but with this car having some US only "features", it would be worth restoring just for its rarity.

Located in Batow, FL, click here to see the eBay listing.

1977 Fiat Jolly - This car is also listed with a weird build date. To the best of my knowledge,the Fiat 500 (on which this car is based) was discontinued in 1975.

From the Micro Car Museum website:

Italy's location on the Mediterranean Sea meant innumerable beachfront cities and resorts. There was a brisk trade in beach buggy conversions of regular cars by the many specialist coachbuilders throughout Italy at the time. One such specialist was Ghia (now owned by Ford), who created the Jolly conversions on Fiat's 500, 600, Multipla and Giardiniera platforms.

Known at home a La Spiaggina, a word difficult to translate but something like "beach-ette", the Fiat beach-buggy was marketed worldwide as the Jolly, meaning "joker" in Italian, but also meaning something light, fun, funny and pretty in several languages.

The car was quite expensive ($1760.00 compared to $998.00 for a standard 500) and was bought by the rich and famous (Aristotle Onassis, Yul Brynner) as yacht tenders, golf carts and estate runabouts. As a result, most surviving examples have covered low mileages only.

They were sold in the USA between 1958 and 1961. Considered a success, the model had a healthy run from 1958 to 1966.

The cars' specification included cut-down sides and windshield, a striped and fringed surrey top, and chromed body-pipework. They were available in pink, coral, white, pale yellow and sky blue. Mechanicals were standard Fiat. An "economical" version was available from 1964 to 1966 featuring normal bumpers with no pipework and solid plastic seats embossed with a fake wicker pattern.

Would I pay $40,000.00 for a pink car with roof fringe? No. Still, this is a rare car and very amusing to look at.

Located in Utah, click here to see the eBay listing.

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