UK automotive icon of the swinging '60s is back

British company eyes international expansion for reborn Moke.

Perhaps no car better defines the freedom of the swinging ’60 than the Moke, the open-top-and-side fun machine that put the wind in the hair of beach goers and outdoors lovers worldwide. 

Fifty-six years after first gracing British roads, the compact fun machine is back, thanks to a consortium of British automotive experts who have relaunched the brand in the UK and are eyeing global markets, with an all-new version of the Brit classic. 

Originally known as the Mini Moke, the vehicle was conceived as a lightweight military vehicle for the British army that could survive a parachute drop and be airlifted by a helicopter.

While its military career was shortlived, the eventual civilian version soon found favour in tropical climates, where its simplicity and open cabin made it a regular sighting at holiday resorts and beachside towns worldwide.

Moke is making a comeback.

Today’s Moke remains true to the look and feel of the original, but features an upgraded motor and chassis to meet modern buyer requirements, with engineering and body production happening in the UK Midlands, before being shipped to Cerizay, France, for final assembly.  

Technical upgrades over earlier models include a new fuel-injected four-cylinder engine, uprated suspension and braking, and the option of either an automatic or manual transmission.

The vehicle is also slightly larger to provide more cabin space and has features previously viewed as a luxury items, like power steering and a heated windscreen. 

The company behind the Moke’s rebirth, Moke International Limited,  claims to own the original “Moke” trademark and to be the world’s only supplier of official Moke cars.

With a leadership group comprising senior figures from the luxury automotive, technology and hospitality industries. Moke International Limited plans to spearhead a global revival of the Moke brand, starting in its home market, the UK, with a limited-edition run of 56 Mokes, designed to signify the number of years since the model originally known as the Mini Moke first appeared in Britain. 

Moke is making a comeback.

Priced at priced at £20,000 ($A35,535) the limited-edition Moke is built for sale exclusively in the United Kingdom and comes in a range of 14 colours, with a chrome front grille and windscreen rails, a union jack badge on the front wings, and a numbered plaque on the bonnet. 

A statement from Moke International said the order books were also now open for Mokes in standard configuration, signalling the permanent return of the brand.

The company said its focus following the UK relaunch, would be on meeting demand in the Caribbean, where Mokes remain popular with both private buyers and luxury resorts and hotels, after which it will look to launch additional models across Europe, the USA and beyond in 2021.

Moke International said it was also eyeing a possible return to the Australian market, where the model was manufactured between 1966 and 1981. 

“We are already seeing significant interest in the revived Moke from Australia, a destination that celebrates the ultimate beach lifestyle like no other,” said Isobel Dando, Director, Moke International.

Moke is making a comeback.

“We are targeting a return to Australia in the middle of 2021 and are actively seeking importer partners to drive success for the brand in what we anticipate to be a key market.”

Ms Dando has more than two decades of experience in the automotive industry, including senior commercial and product leadership roles at Jaguar Land Rover and the BMW Group, according to a statement from Moke International.

The low-volume run of just 56 Mokes means the new model doesn’t have to comply with UK safety and emission standards, but it’s not clear how that challenge will be met should the model move to higher volume manufacturing, or indeed export. 

The reborn Moke lacks modern safety features such as airbags, ABS brakes and electronic stability control, which would mean it does not comply with Australian Design Rule requirements. 

Moke specs

Transmission: 4-speed automatic 
Engine: 4 cylinder, 1083cc 
Fuel economy: 8.3L/100km 
Emissions standard: Euro 4 
Top speed: 109km/h 
Power: 50Kw@6000rpm 
Torque: 93Nm@3500–4500rpm