The Austin Mini Moke on offer at Classic Park is a late example from 1993, built in Portugal by the Italian Caviga which had bought the production rights of MG Rover in 1990. The Portuguese Moke's had a lockable storage space at the rear (the term "boot" would be an exaggeration in this case). These later models also have a significantly stronger roll cage. Caviga built only 1,500 Moke's. This well maintained Mini Moke has driven 13800 km (8575 miles) and currently has a Spanish registration.
The Mini Moke (1964-1993) is a vehicle based on the Mini, designed for the British Motor Corporation (BMC) by Sir Alec Issigonis. The name "Moke" is an archaic dialect term for donkey. The Moke has been marketed under various names including Austin Mini Moke, Morris Mini Moke and Leyland Moke.
The initial design was a prototype for a light military vehicle in the style of the American Jeep, but its small wheels and low ground clearance made it impractical as an off-road vehicle. Only the Royal Navy showed any interest in the vehicle for use on the decks of aircraft carriers. It was subsequently offered in a civilian version as a low-cost, easily maintained utility vehicle, targeting farmers and light commercial applications. The Moke finally achieved success as a beach buggy—becoming a popular 'cult' vehicle in many tropical resorts. The car also found a market in Macau, where it became the official transport for the local police. It also had a supporting role in several James Bond movies and the gendarme comedies of the French comedian Louis de Funes.
The original Moke, only available in spruce green, used identical engine, transmission and suspension parts from the Mini Van. The first Mokes were built at BMC's, Birmingham (UK, 1964-1968), later Australia (1966-1981) and Portugal (1980-1993) followed.
In the initial offering, passenger seats, grab handles, heater, windscreen washer and a removable canvas top were all optional. Owners had to bolt these onto the vehicle themselves. The base price was £ 405.
Australian Mokes were exported to many countries. From 1975, a pickup version of the Moke was produced, with a 1.45 x 1.50 metre (55 x 59 in) drop-sided bed which protruded behind the back of the vehicle, and a cloth top over the cab area.
Mini Mokes can still be seen around the town of Victoria, Seychelles as it is still a popular mode of transport for tourists.
In the early 1970s, a Mini Moke became the first motor vehicle to be driven on Pitcairn Island and thereby became the most remote vehicle on earth. Rumour has it that the Moke remained the island's sole vehicle, running until at least 1988.
The Moke turned out to be an ideal conversion for use in railway service. The Tasmanian Government Railways ran a fleet, estimated at 16, of hard topped Mokes for inspection and maintenance service on its narrow gauge network.
The true Mini Moke was never available as a 'kit car', but because the basic Mini parts are easily available, many companies have made copies of the vehicle. In 2016, an Australian company will launch the New Moke, available at a starting price of 23,000 AUD (£ 12,250).
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