Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2
When deciding which countries flag to appoint to this page, one makes a difficult decision - for the "Moke" has been manufactured in the UK, Australia and even as far away as Portugal. But with the its birth place being England, and having been designed by Sir Alec Issigonis
, the UK flag seems most appropriate.
And the manufacturer?, take your pick from Morris-Austin, BMC and Leyland Australia. But, contrary to popular belief, they were never available in kit form, but have always been factory produced using a steel monocoque body pan mounted on Mini sub frames and powered by an "A" series Mini engine/gearbox unit. Be it England, Australia or Portugal, they have always left the factory fully assembled.
The Mini Moke was in fact designed by Sir Alec Issigonis
at the same time as the Mini Saloon, the first pre-production prototype
being produced in 1959, with a handful of other prototype
Mini Mokes being made up until 1964
, including a couple of four wheel drive versions with two engines! Fortunately some of these prototypes are still in existence.
The first production Mini Moke was manufactured in January 1964 at BMC's Longbridge factory in Birmingham, England. Production continued until late October 1968 when around 15,000 English Mokes had been produced.
Production then switched entirely to BMC's factory in Sydney, Australia, where they had been producing the Moke since 1966. A number of specification changes had been made to suit the local conditions and the growing leisure vehicle market.
As with the VW Beetle, Mini Moke owners would swear by their cars durability in all types of catastrophes, and for economical motoring year after year. Certainly as a basic and utilitarian "Point A to Point B" mode of transport, the Moke sure fitted the bill, and over the years it garnered an ever increasing allegiance of fans.
Powered by the tried and true Mini “Series A” transverse engine, the 1000cc engine produced plenty of power for the nimble and feather-weight Moke, even though 29 kW at 5200 rpm and 68 Nm torque at 2500 rpm does not sound all that much on paper. Best of the Moke’s was undoubtedly the “Californian”, it being fitted with the larger 1275cc engine and being good for 40 kW at 5250 rpm and 90 Nm at 2500 rpm.
The Californian didn’t exactly sprint to 100 km/h, rather it would take things a little more leisurely, and even by the standards of the day 20.3 seconds was just plain slow. Still, the Moke afforded a top speed of 130 km/h and, with fuel consumption at a very respectable 7 litres per 100 kilometers in city driving, it at least won over the pockets, if not the hears, of those that drove one.
Steering was by rack and pinion with a turning circle of 9.45 metres, and the Californian was even fitted with front disc brakes, a much better option than the all round drums fitted to the 998cc iterations. The interior and dash layout was in keeping with the exterior of the car, the instrument cluster including a single-pack speedometer
and odometer, fuel gauge with warning lights for ignition, high beam and oil pressure
. Later models were fitted with dual speed wipers, and a steering
lock was standard on both models.
Plans For A Four Wheel Drive Moke
even had plans of offering a four-wheel-drive model, but production problems would see the idea shelved. Nevertheless the front wheel drive Moke was always good at what it was intended to do, and never pretended to be something it wasn’t. Even off-road, the Moke would be able to put in a creditable performance, and with the addition of an engine oil pressure pump the Moke could handle sand dunes with relative ease, and the 20cm clearance and steel sump guard even helped it traverse fairly rugged terrain.
As you would imagine, few concessions were made to creature comforts, and this included the options list. You could get metallic paint on the Californian, along with mesh head-lamp guards and wider tyres
on both models. The Mini Moke continued to be manufactured in Australia until early 1982
production restarted in Portugal with British Leyland. Initially the final Australian specification was used, but this was substantially revised in 1986
, and under the control of Austin Rover Portugal, continued until mid 1989. The manufacturing rights for the Moke were sold in 1990 to the Italian company Cagiva, who produced practically identical Mokes in Portugal from 1991 through to early 1993, when the last Mini Moke was made.
This site receives quite a lot of hits from people seeking out informaiton on the Moke, and while for many years they have been considered anything but collectable, one sences that things are starting to change. They are cheap, rugged, fun and reliable. If you live in a sea-side town we cannot think of a better way of getting about, and others are catching onto that fact too.