The Citroen Lohr Fardier was designed in the seventies as a light, all-terrain 4×4 vehicle for the French army (only 280 were built and few are still « valid »).
Because of its compact size twelve FL500’s would fit in the French Air Force transport planes instead of the usual four off-road vehicles. Because of the low weight the FL500 could be dropped by parachute, or two could be transported at the same time dangling from a helicopter. It could carry a load of 480 kg, or tow 500 kg. (The weight of a 20mm canon). It could take a 50% incline fully loaded. Hence the name Fardier, French for a transport vehicle for heavy loads.
The French Army placed an order for 218 units in 1978 and some were sold to Argentina and Spain. Citroen chose to have the vehicles built in the Forest factory in Belgium. A practical choice since the design called for the use of many existing Citroen parts. The engine was the same as the one used in the Military Mehari. Gearbox and brakes came from the Ami8, drive-shafts from the Ami Super, fuel tank from the AZU, steering gear from the H van, wheel rims from the GS etc. All this was wrapped in a tough tubular frame and topped off with a flat aluminum plate. A sturdy roll-over bar was standard.
The vehicles had many interesting features such as a double clutch, (centrifugal and regular) four wheel disk brakes, cutting brakes on the rear wheels for fast cornering, a center differential lock, a mechanical rev limiter, manual accelerator and so forth.
As you can see the engine / transmission unit is turned 90 degrees in the chassis to allow for a simple four wheel drive construction. My particular model has 2 seats which is more rare since most Lohrs were used as flatbeds to either carry mortars and heavy weapons up to 500kg or sometimes to fit a stretcher for the wounded.
The vehicle offered for sale here is governed to a top speed of just under 50 km/h. California State requires a minimum speed of 55 miles/hour to obtain a regular pink-slip. As it is (carburetor not modified) I could only get an off-road sticker so the vehicle is sold without a title, but many other states provide a regular title. Please check with your state to see if it could be registered road worthy. (The carburetor has a screw that creates a vacuum to prevent the car from running faster and it can be easily removed.) Equipped with the Ami 8 suspension she can be driven flat-out over rough terrain in amazing comfort. Before shipping to the US she received a major service by a professional in France and I can provide bills for brakes master cylinder, calipers, disks, some gaskets, PTO shaft protective caps, new regular road tires etc. Included are the user’s manual, the Army workshop manual, the Army manual on how to prepare the vehicle for a parachute drop and even some original French Army blue prints and other original documents.This being army, these manuals are insanely detailed and heavily illustrated. If you were stuck on an uninhabited South Sea Island with a tool box you should be able to take the whole vehicle apart and put it back together without much trouble. Please note, while all mechanical parts are Citroen based and readily available, these are extremely rare vehicles.
Location: Petaluma, California, United States
See listing: 1970 Lohr Fardier FL500 (from October 2, 2020)