CITROËN CELEBRATES 50th ANNIVERSARY OF MEHARI WITH AN E-MEHARI ART CAR DESIGNED BY JEAN-CHARLES DE CASTELBAJAC | Media Citroen International

CITROËN CELEBRATES 50th ANNIVERSARY OF MEHARI WITH AN E-MEHARI ART CAR DESIGNED BY JEAN-CHARLES DE CASTELBAJAC

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Fri, 04/05/2018 - 09:00
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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. Find out about it online: https://youtu.be/jn4AV5ehz8s



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.

 

December 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.

 

Key dates

11 May 1968, launch of Méhari at Deauville golf course.

October 1968, first participation in the Motor Show, Porte de Versailles in Paris.

In 1969, Méhari enters its first rallies, including Liège-Dakar-Liège.

In February 1972, the Méhari army and police version appears.

Summer 1978, first cinema role in the series ‘Les Gendarmes' with Louis de Funès.

May 1979, birth of the 4X4 version which takes part in marking out the Paris-Dakar Rally.

In 1980, ten Méhari vehicles make up part of the Paris-Dakar assistance team.

In April 1981, the army approves the Citroën Méhari 4X4 model as an all-terrain light military vehicle.

In 1983, the 'Azur' limited edition is released (700 units) as well as the ‘Beach’ (‘Plage') edition for the Iberian Peninsula.

In 1987, production of Méhari stops after 19 years of existence and nearly 145,000 units sold.

End of 2015, almost 30 years later, Citroën unveils E-MEHARI, a 100% electric worthy successor to the Méhari of 1968.

September 2017, launch of the Citroën E-MEHARI 'Styled by Courrèges’ 61 unit limited edition, in tribute to the year of creation of the Maison de Couture fashion house, 1961.

January 2018, Citroën launches New E-MEHARI, which  benefits from technological advancements, a new interior design and a HARD TOP version which allows the only electric 4-seater cabriolet to transform into a hatchback, for 'fun' driving throughout the year!

May 2018, 50 years after Méhari, Citroën presents an E-MEHARI Art Car, a unique, colourful and optimistic piece, drawn by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.

From 5 to 8 May 2018, the Méhari Club of France is organising a national gathering in Amboise for the 50th anniversary of the car. 280 cars and 600 collectors are expected.

 

MAY LAUGHED IN 68… E-MEHARI IN 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 environment.

 

The Citroën Brand

An international automobile brand at the heart of the mainstream offering, Citroën has been cultivating audacity and creativity since 1919. Different by their design, generators of well-being by their comfort and their technology, Citroëns are a breath of fresh air on the automotive landscape, like New C3 or New C3 Aircross Compact SUV.

A popular brand in the true sense of the word, Citroën makes people and their ways of life its main source of inspiration. A  spirit embodied by its signature ‘Inspired by You’ and driven by its unique customer experience, in particular with its city store concept ‘La Maison Citroën’, its online review website ‘Citroën Advisor’ and also its mobility solutions (Citroën Rent&Smile and Earn&Drive). Citroën has 10,000 new vehicle and after sales dealerships in nearly 80 countries, with 1.1 million vehicles sold in 2017. It also has 8 WRC Constructor’s World Champion titles and 3 consecutive WTCC Constructor’s World Champion titles.

citroen.com

 

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac is a visionary designer who, by way of his conceptual creations, anticipated the current removal of barriers between the arts and fashion. He is a sprawling artist who is not defined merely from the restricted field of fashion. His sense of ownership has always led him to the doors of art. From his beginnings, he has never seen a boundary between the disciplines.

An unclassifiable and innovative designer, he expresses himself through numerous forms of media such as fashion, design, drawing, painting, and also street-art with chalk. His multiple collaborations with artists from the avant-garde of the creative scene have focused his passion to build bridges between the disciplines.

jeancharlesdecastelbajac.com

 

Available photos, videos and documents

www.citroencommunication-echange.com

User ID (upper case): MAI68

Password (upper case): MAI2018

 

With in particular the first press release dated 17 May 1968 published for the presentation of Méhari.

 

Citroën press department: Nathalie Roussel

Mobile: +336 87 77 41 82

nathalie.roussel@citroen.com

 

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac press department: Julien Verry

Mobile: +336 43 10 32 08

attache@detachedepresse.com

 

Citroën Origins online museum:

Like Méhari, the most symbolic models from the Brand’s history can be found on the Citroën Origins website

www.citroenorigins.com (virtual museum comprising 62 vehicles, available in 33 countries).

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