There's nothing quite like a MOKE. Designed in the Swinging Sixties by Sir Alec Issigonis, the father of the Austin Mini, the Mini MOKE quickly gained cult status in the French Riviera, Australia and the Caribbean, with around 50,000 MOKEs being sold between 1964 and 1992. Once again, it's becoming the must-have accessory in warm climates. Read on to discover more about the iconic brand's story...
Originally pitched to the British Army in the late fifties, MOKE's ambitions of serving its country were never realised, but it soon found its true calling. This classic British motoring icon continues to be treasured for its unique styling and the feelings of freedom it evokes, and has now been reengineered in Britain by MOKE International Limited. The new models are faithful to the ethos of the original vehicles, while being packed with improved technology.
MOKE International Limited company is committed to sustainable mobility and full speed - so expect to see electric MOKEs cruising along the promenade in the near future!
At the end of the 1950s, a prototype MOKE vehicle (codenamed "Buckboard") was built under Issigonis's supervision and trialled by the British Army, which sought a suitable lightweight, air-transportable, utility vehicle. The vehicle wasn't fit for the forces due to its low ground clearance and weak 848cc engine, but not to be deterred...
...the Buckboard was revamped with larger tyres and improved off-road capabilities, and was reintroduced as the Mini MOKE in 1962. Unfortunately, it still didn't fit the bill for military officials, so the British Motor Corporation (who were marketing the vehicle at the time) turned their attentions to a civilian version. The new Mini MOKE appeared in January 1964. And the rest, as they say, is history!
The Austin Mini MOKE was marketed in the UK as a VAT-exempt, utilitarian vehicle, which was similar to the original MOKE, but without doors and many optional extras. However, despite this and its claim to fame in cult British television series 'The Prisoner', the Austin Mini MOKE only sold 10% of the units produced, and the Longbridge plant ceased production of the car in 1968.
In 1966 in Australia, a new version of the MOKE was assembled: the Morris Mini MOKE. The new model was fitted with a bigger 998cc (40HP) engine and 13-inch wheels (larger than the 10-inch British version). The Morris could reach a top speed of 130km/h, making it an instant hit!
From 1973 the Morris Mini MOKE was sold as the Leyland MOKE, and in 1976 the vehicle was fitted with a new 1098cc motor, which was replaced a year later by a more powerful 1275cc engine. Nearly 27,000 units of the new variant, dubbed MOKE Californian, rolled off the production line. By the time its production ceased in 1981, the model had reached cult status.
The MOKE trend reached Portugal in 1980. The BMC's Portuguese subsidiary began manufacturing at the start of the decade and continued for 13 years, with about 10,000 units being made. In its 30 years of production in various countries, a total of 49,937 Mini MOKEs were produced.
Nearly six decades after the Mini MOKE's first appearance, the MOKE is back! Internationally recognised British designer Michael Young has completely redesigned and reengineered 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. Are you ready to take the wheel?