After years without, I will finally have a garage! It's actually a mystery why I have lived in places without a garage for so long when I love the idea of having a space to work on a car project. An upcoming move means I will have a small garage that's all my own. It may be small and lacking a lift, but it will be perfectly suitable for some sort of automotive project.
Think of it as a concrete representation of The Automotive Attic. Some junk needs to be cleared out, and the tool bench organised, and a few lights added, but it's dry and insulated and begging to be stuffed with a fun older car project. I had my eye on a 1987 Pontiac Fiero GT as well as a 1982 Buick Skylark, so hopefully one of those two will work out. If not, I know that something fun and unique will end up parked in that space soon.
As enjoyable as this winter has been, the sun and clear skies today got me thinking about summer. Or last summer, to be exact. I had the chance to visit the south of France last June and spent some time in Perpignan, just north of the border with Spain, on the Mediterranean sea. With sandy beaches all along the coast, it's not hard to find a place to stretch out and enjoy the sun, sea and sand.
One of the best ways to get around is in a convertible. While I didn't have the chance to myself, there was no shortage of cool examples at the beach. The most celebrated and legendary French example is the Citroen Mehari, a plastic-fantastic version of the already-legendary 2CV compact car. Manufactured between 1968 and 1988 as a beach-side runaround, the Mehari had a tub body in place of a traditional body shell, much like the similar VW Thing, Renault Safari, and Mini Moke. In the case of the Mehari, the body was made entirely from plastic and had the color 'baked' right in.
Thanks to the simple mechanicals it shares with the 2CV and the huge aftermarket that exists for that car, owning and operating a Mehari isn't a problem. What IS difficult is getting your hands on one for a decent price, since it never sold in huge numbers and is highly sought-after on the used car market nowadays. Thanks to the plastic body, rust isn't a problem, though accidents can crack the monocoque body.
This beige model I saw at the beach was in very good condition and came with a top and side windows that offered some protection from the wind and rain. I didn't see a drop of rain during my week in the South of France, so I imagine the tops on these beach cars don't stay up very often. A few days later I saw a blue Mehari at another beach, so while these ARE a rare car, they still can be seen, usually in their natural habitat along the coast.
A few snowflakes were flying tonight so it's not QUITE time for an open-air buggy like this cool Mehari in Canada just yet. Still, a toy like this would be very entertaining to have around in the summertime, and it's easy to see why this plastique fantastique Citroen is still so desirable today!
Welcome! My name is Paul, and I am an old-fashioned, low-pressure, low-buck car fan with lots of automotive stories to tell!