50 YEARS OF MOKE
At the end of the 1950s, the British Army asked the British Motor Corporation (BMC) to design a new, light, parachute-droppable, military vehicle. Alec Issigonis, the father of the Mini, couldn’t have imagined then that his little Moke would become the iconic, must-have car around the world.
Before working on the Mini, Alec Issigonis designed several military vehicles, mainly during WWII. At the end of the 1950s, the British Army sought a lightweight, air-transportable, utility vehicle, and soon a prototype was created. The BMC’s interpretation was a vehicle codenamed “Buckboard,” built under Issigonis’s supervision. Presented to the Queen’s troops in 1959, the prototype failed to pass inspection due to its low ground clearance and weak engine. However, the Royal Navy showed interest in the vehicle for use on the decks of its aircraft carriers.
THE MILITARY MINI MOKE
Undaunted, the BMC made adjustments to the original design and introduced the Mini Moke in 1962. The vehicle boasted larger tires, better off-road capabilities improved suspension and true 4x4 driving with an 848cc engine. Military officials remained unimpressed with the second iteration, and thus to recoup development costs, the BMC decided to commercialize a civilian version of The Moke. The new vehicle debuted in January 1964.
THE AUSTIN MINI MOKE
Based on the original Moke, but without doors and without many optional extras, the Austin Mini Moke was marketed as a utilitarian vehicle. Despite its appearance in the British TV series “The Prisoner,” the Austin Mini Moke only sold 10% of its 14,500 units and production ceased four years later.
THE MORRIS MINI MOKE
In 1966 in Australia, a new version of the Moke was assembled. Called the Morris Mini Moke, the car was fitted with 13-inch wheels (larger than the 10-inch British version) and a bigger 998cc engine, which allowed it to reach a top speed of 80 miles/hr.
THE MOKE CALIFORNIAN
From 1973, the Morris Mini Moke was sold as the Leyland Moke and in 1976 the vehicle was fitted with a new 1098 cc motor, later upgraded to a more powerful 1275 cc engine. 26,142 units of the new variant, dubbed the Moke Californian, were produced. By the time production ceased in 1981, the model had reached cult status for a whole generation of followers.
MOKE CEASES PRODUCTION
From 1980-1993, the BMC’s Portuguese subsidiary manufactured the Moke. Production of nearly 10,000 additional Moke's were sold, bringing total global production of Moke's to 49,437 when production by BMC finally ceased in 1993.
THE MOKE IS REBORN
25 years later Moke International is bringing back this iconic car. Internationally recognized British designer Michael Young has completely redesigned and re-engineered the Moke for the 21st Century. While the new, much anticipated model remains faithful to its origins and classic look, it also integrates the most pertinent elements of today’s automotive technology for a new generation of drivers.