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Mini Moke

Published: 4th Jul 2011 - 1 Comments

Fast Facts

  • Engine: 998cc/4-cyl
  • Power (bhp/rpm): 39/4750
  • Torque (lb ft@rpm): 50/2500
  • Top speed: 74mph
  • 0-60mph: n/a
  • Fuel consumption: 40mpg
  • Transmission: 4-speed manual
  • Length: 10ft 7in (3.23m)
  • Width (inc mirrors): 4ft 9in (1.44m)
  • Weight: 1386lb (630kg)
  • Books: Mini Moke Ultimate Portfolio by Brooklands Books. ISBN 000-1-85520-690-0
  • Clubs: http://www.mokelist.org
  • Websites: The Mini Moke Club, http://www.mokeclub.org
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If you like to be the centre of attention, the Moke is for you. Not only is this one of the most eye-catching cars on the road, but it’s also ultra-rare, so people don’t know what it is. The assumption is that it’s some kind of kit car, but the Moke was never available in kit form from BMC – although some companies have offered self-build clones along the way. Whether or not the car is for you, it wasn’t what the British Army wanted in the 1960s; the car was designed and built in the hope that the armed forces would snap them up. But limited off-road capabilities meant the car was shunned and it was sold instead to pretty young civilians who were desperate to be conspicuous and wanted to play The Prisoner.

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What to look for?

First you need to ensure it’s a genuine Moke – kits have been passed off as the real thing. The Moke is less common than you might think, so if in doubt, talk to someone at the Moke Club. The Moke’s running gear is pure Mini, so you need to look out for all the key failings of that car. That means ensuring the A-Series in the nose isn’t about to expire – which is tricky as they can appear perfectly healthy up to the point where they go bang. Look for oil being burned; blue smoke from the exhaust gives the game away. Also listen out for clicking CV joints, especially noisy gearboxes (although they all whine) and rotten subframes. Most Mokes lead cherished lives nowadays, but it wasn’t always so and many were abused in the 1970s and 1980s. With poor rust proofi ng, rust along the seams and around the folds is common, but you need to check everywhere. Also take a look inside the panniers, where water collects and battery acid does its worst. With genuine panels now all but impossible to fi nd, a really rotten car will be a labour of love to restore.

Values

British-built Mokes are highly sought after, but the Australian cars are more usable – Portuguese cars are even easier to live with. There are few survivors in the UK and with so few to go round you’ll have to look hard, and values can fl uctuate wildly. The odd barn fi nd Moke turns up occasionally, and they’ve been known to change hands for as little as £250 – while others have paid over £1000 for a series of carrier bags containing the essence of a Moke. A usable car can cost as little as £4000, although concours cars are now fetching £15,000 – so expect to pay £7,000-10,000 for really good examples and we’ve spotted some exceeding fi ve fi gures!

Driving one

Like that other 1960s fashion icon, the Beach Buggy, the Mini Moke is great fun on short, low-speed trips – but complete murder on long high speed ones. The Moke runs out of puff at just 74mph thanks to its small if willing engine and breeze block aerodynamics. But the car’s handling is as sharp as a Mini and the ride isn’t bad considering the light weight – something which ensures that the car feels amazingly lively off the mark. Like the Mini the Moke’s driving position is weird and bus-like, with the steering wheel too upright. The gear change is surprisingly vague too, but you soon get used to it. But the Moke is surprisingly capable, the front-wheel drive giving superb traction and with its ultra-sharp steering the Moke is great fun to pilot whether you’re on the road or off it –just like a Mini. From a practical standpoint, wet weather protection is minimal.

Evolution

1964

The UK-built Moke is introduced as a general workhorse based upon Mini hardware but with a 998cc engine.

1968

Production is transferred to Australia where it’s made for another 14 years. These cars run on 12-inch wheels (originally 10), the engine now displaces 1098cc, and the electrics are relocated to make be less vulnerable.

1982

Production moves to Portugal.

1990

Italian company Cagiva buys the rightsto produce the Moke.

1993

Production is wound up after around 50,000 Mokes have been built. Aside from the production cars there have been all sorts of oddities, such as an electric Moke and even a four-wheel drive one. Most famous of all were the Twini Mokes, with an engine at each end. It’s reckoned that six were made; one exists at the Heritage Centre in Gaydon while another is in private hands in the UK. There are stories of a further two survivors, but nobody knows where they are.



User Comments

This review has 1 comments

  • In all the history that i have read there is no mention of the 320 units that were supplied to Rhodesian british south african police in kit form.I have job no 120 and is a british spec mk 1.

    Comment by: Paul Saayman     Posted on: 15 Feb 2012 at 11:42 AM

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