By the time the 1980s rolled around, many car buyers saw two-cylinder Citroëns as a bad hangover from a different era. In an effort to counter sliding sales, the French automaker turned to launching special editions of its flat-twin-powered models.
Citroën launched special editions of the 2CV in rapid-fire succession but the story was a little different for the Méhari since it was less affected by the drop in sales. First of all, sales were never really all that high; second of all, it catered to a niche market, meaning that it was less affected by the appearance of more modern competitors.
Still, Citroën introduced the Méhari Azur in 1983 in an effort to keep buyers interested in the car. The biggest difference between the Azur and the regular Méhari was that the plastic body was finished in white while the doors, the B-pillar, the grille and the headlight bezels were painted in dark blue. This explained why it was dubbed “Azur”: it is the name of a shade of dark blue in French.
To further set it apart from more run-of-the-mill Méharis, Azur emblems were found on the tailgate and below the windshield, and dark blue stripes ran up both sides of the hood.
The Azur’s soft top was also dark blue and it featured a sunroof-like mechanism that allowed the front third of it to flip back like in certain entry-level versions of the 2CVs. The finishing touch was a set of white 15-inch steel wheels with ten oval holes. They were very similar in design to the steelies fitted to certain GS models during the 1970s but they were not exactly the same.
On the inside, the seats featured a specific white and dark blue upholstery and the spare tire cover was – you guessed it – dark blue. The Azur could be ordered as either a two- or a four-seater. The difference between the two models wasn’t just a rear bench and its corresponding mechanism: the two-seater wore a specific mention on the title. While it was mechanically possible (and not particularly complicated) to convert a two-seater into a four-seater, it was illegal to do without getting the conversion approved by the government.
Under the Azur’s hood was the 602cc air-cooled flat-twin that was found in the regular-production Méhari. It was rated at 29 horsepower and 29 foot-pounds of torque and it was bolted to a four-speed manual transmission that spun the front wheels.
The Méhari Azur was only sold in France, Italy and Portugal. In France the two-seater variant carried a base price of 37,164 francs in 1983; buyers who needed to carry four people had to write out a check for 41,400 francs. For the sake of comparison, a regular-production four-seater Méhari carried a base price of 34,350 francs.
The 700 examples of the Méhari Azur sold out so quickly that Citroën decided to add the car to its catalog as a regular production model in 1986. The model was produced until 1987, when production of the Méhari stopped.
All photos by Citroën Communication/G. GUYOT.