Classifieds Hero: Citroën/Fibrefab Sherpa
Ever seen one of these before? This incredibly rare German Citroën Sherpa is currently for sale in the AutoClassics classifieds
Originally a replacement for the bonkers Citroën 2CV twin-engined Sahara, the Méhari was launched in 1968 with a lowly 28bhp, upped an incredible bhp by the time production wrapped for 1988. However, weighing less than the average Texan lunch, the plucky Méhari could get far further into the wilderness than the corrugated-roofing look gave credit for.
Things really took off with the introduction of the 4x4 in 1980, employing four-wheel disc brakes, reduction transmission effective on first, 2nd and 3rd gear and a bonnet-mounted spare wheel. Sadly, the impressive four-wheel drive ceased production after only three years in the showroom, with overall production terminating only five years later.
However, a forgotten titbit from the dredges of automotive history reveals an oddity; the West German Citroën (or Fiberfab as it’s known) Sherpa.
As far as records show, only 250 Citroën/Fiberfab Sherpas were built by the German Kuhnie Company. Based off the Méhari, which itself was based on the Citroën Dyane 6, the Sherpa came about after West German authorities felt the spartan Méhari was a bit too dangerous for public consumption. The ABS plastic body and soft top marriage left many safety councils reaching for the smelling salts – foreseeing fireballs, crumpled wrecks and young people enjoying themselves. God forbid.
Utilising a different kind of less flammable GPR plastic, satisfying the TÜV rules of the early 1970s, headlamps came from the Volkswagen Passat, with the grille lifted off Fiat’s 850T minibus. Sold in West Germany, France, Great Britain and the Netherlands, production dates ran from 1975 until 1982 – the equivalent, according to production figures, of roughly 36 vehicles per year.
As another bit of trivia, the French company P. Inglesis constructed Sherpa models under license in their Piré factory at a projected rate of 30 per month. This was short lived however, as the plant burnt to the ground in 1980.
Very seldom seen on the market, due to such a small production number, the Sherpa offers cool, cult motoring with a rarity factor no rival can touch. Many have been worked into the ground, employed as the workhorse original brochures made the car out to be, but don’t fret; if you find a project, they are remarkably DIY friendly and won’t leave you rocking back and forth in your garage should work need to be undertaken. Yet, if a project isn’t for you, AutoClassics have a prime candidate from the Kuhnie Company ready for your attention.
This Sherpa remains in exceptionally impressive condition. Arriving in the Netherlands from Germany during 1996, this special wagon has been maintained and cared for accordingly. Structurally sound with a healthy chassis and strong mechanicals, the interior and hood are also in very good condition. Running smoothly and tougher than Chuck Norris’s old boot, this Sherpa is ready to hit the road in any weather.