Home » Here It Is, The Best Car I Saw In Copenhagen: Cold Start

Here It Is, The Best Car I Saw In Copenhagen: Cold Start

Cs Meharicopenhagen

When I was recently driving around the new VW ID.Buzz in Copenhagen (as you maybe read about?) I was keeping my eyes open for interesting cars just living their interesting car lives in the city, and I saw a few, including this incredible orange Citroën Mehari that some guy in a tank top was happily buzzing about the city in. It was clearly loved, and that ABS plastic body gleamed like only painted ABS plastic can, which is to say, slightly. It’s lovely.

The Mehari seems an ideal car for sunny days in Europe: as open like an hors d’oeuvre tray, great vivid color, and yet still frugal on expensive Euro gas with its tiny flat-twin air-cooled engine. That pic (taken by my drive partner Ezra Dyer) is also great because the contrast of that bright orange bathtub next to that huge tanker truck is just kind of perfect.

There were other great cars just around Copenhagen, too. I told you about that Saab 96 already, but here’s a couple more:

Cs Copenfiatvan

This fantastic chlorophyll-drunk-green Fiat rear-engine van!

And, one of these:

Cs Copenka

A first-gen Ford Ka! Still one of my favorite rubber-fendered cheap modern-ish city cars.

I have a few more, but I don’t want to cram so many at you all at once! Pace yourself!


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27 Responses

  1. My favorite Mehari story which I tell too often:

    When Martin Whitmarsh was head of McLaren F1 I got to have breakfast with him and Lewis Hamilton was one table over being moody and weird and we were supposed to talk about racing but I made a Mehari joke and he goes “Oh, I bought one!”

    We spent most of the rest of the time talking about Meharis and at one point Lewis Hamilton looks up from his eggs and gives us a look like “Are you guys still really talking about Citroen Meharis?”

      1. The fact they have the original molds is a good thing, but demand will slow one day. You can always repair steel or aluminum, but at a certain point ABS won’t take any repairs.

  2. Living near the beach the Mehari struck me as an awesome runabout. Went online to have a look. They’re importable based on year. They also command quite a price with those I found in the $25,000 and up range.

  3. I really dig the Ka! Had a new one for a week, and it was an absolute blast, if underpowered for California use. The chassis — a Ford strength in their car-building days — was just about perfect, and seemed willing to take a lot more power than it was getting. People stared, and more than a few wanted to know where they could get one. A lot of disappointment when I said “Europe”…I didn’t want to give it back.

    A lot longer ago than that, I saw a number of Meharis running around the weird town of Jerome, Arizona. Why? Don’t know. Hate to think what the heat and sun did to their plastic bodies….

  4. Thanks for the Gen 1 Ka fix, I think about importing one rather a lot.
    Doesn’t look like you had a chance to make it to Egeskov Castle on Fyn, hope you can some time. The attic full of random weird unrestored stuff and leftovers is really fun.
    Just visited a friend on the west coast of Sjælland who had a secret to show me. It turns out there’s a barn full of old Buicks and Cadillac limos next door to his place.

  5. Hi all, Denmark has an interesting cost regime for cars. My understanding is that you pay almost the entire purchase price again in taxes to put it into service. As a result there is a strong incentive to keep your car on the road (“just” regular VAT on spares) forever. Jason, you may have noticed a tendency towards cheap to buy cars and comparatively old cars in well kept condition. Again, interesting approach and shows that taxes actually can disincentivize.

    1. When Ezra left Automobile magazine is when I let my subscription die off. Maybe The Autopian will become successful enough that they could afford him!

  6. In the early in the NYC suburbs one of the jocks at my high school drove a Mehari. It had a tag from a company on Long Island that apparently grey imported them in the 70s. FWIW this was an affluent suburb and other noteworthy rides were a 911 Carrera RS and a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow on the high end and a VW Thing and a Renault 15 that self immolated at the low end.

  7. If you visit Uruguay, namely Montevideo and Colonia del Sacremento, you will see more than one Mehari. I visited Colonia del Sacramento a few years ago and was surprised to see five of them in one day along with several interesting automobiles.

  8. Back in 2003, I was stationed in Germany and I rented a Ka for a couple days. Driving that bucket o’ bolts on the Autobahn was some of the scariest driving I’ve ever done (and I’ve driven over the “Million Dollar Highway” in a snowstorm). Top speed in the Ka was 140 km/hr and it felt like it was going to shake itself to bits at that speed. Even then, I’d be shuddering down the road (right-lane only, of course) hoping the wheels weren’t going to fall off, when I’d see a quick flash of brights in my rear-view mirror – holy hell that Porsche/Mercedes/Audi, etc. must be doing 200, easy! In the blink of an eye, the overtaking car would flash past me like I was standing still, with only a few centimeters between us, and making the poor Ka shake like a dog being yelled at for shitting on the good carpet. Entering the roadway was even scarier as I was wringing out the manual transmission for all it was worth, trying to get up to speed so I could merge with traffic that was mostly moving faster than my top speed. The Ka is a piece of shit that should only be allowed in countries without an Autobahn. It would be great in Turkey, for example, where the families riding mopeds could safely bounce off those rubber fenders. But in Germany, it’s a fiery death just waiting to happen.

    1. Former first gen Ka owner here. I don’t recognise your description of the Ka at all. Maybe you were used to driving an S500 or a 911, in which case being cheap and renting a Ka with high expectations is on you.
      I got mine in ’98 with just under 10k showing and it had 129k showing when I traded it against an ’03 Focus. It had a five digit odometer but after a hundred thousand miles even Stevie Wonder could tell it wasn’t a 29k mile car. It fundamentally ran and drove fine but the central locking failed at 99k, the passenger window became intermittent at 110k and then the driver’s side window went the same way so I ditched it.
      I fondly remember it and I am always ready to fight for the reputation of the first gen Ka as a driver’s car. Viva slow car fast over fast car slow.

      1. Glad you enjoyed your Ka. At the time, my daily driver back in the states was a 1985 Volvo 240, so I’m with you on the slow car fast thing. Maybe you were lucky? Maybe I was unlucky? Maybe the guys at Sixt were having a laugh by renting the USAF guy their worst car? All I know is that I’ll never drive one of those Ka Ka mobiles again.

  9. Wait…what is that really cool looking green-and-white van-like vehicle next to the Ford Ka?! That looks interesting. You should write ad nauseam about that vehicle, whatever it may be.


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