The Mini Moke was born as a result of a request for a light, parachutable military vehicle, inspired by the Jeep of the Second World War. However, the small diameter tires and the low ground clearance made it unsuitable for off-road use.One of the first Mini Mokes assembled in England
A version was therefore created, conceived as a work vehicle, destined for the civil market. The characteristics of this vehicle were the low purchase price and low maintenance. The engine was that of 850 cm³ that equipped the Mini. The car in the United Kingdom, however, did not achieve great success, despite a favorable taxation regime as it was considered a vehicle intended for commercial use. The main problem the Moke had to face was the climate which did not make it very comfortable to use an open car. Furthermore, on the first Mokes the rear seat and the cover were optional that were delivered separately and it was then the owner of the car who had to fit them. The so-called Mark I (first series), manufactured in the UK, is based on the Mini Mark I, which was produced until 1967. However, the Moke was produced until 1968 with the “base” of the first series of the Mini, although there is a new version of the Moke, the Mark II, which additionally offered two windshield wipers (now also for the passenger), a new color (English white, combined with the always available Spruce Green), and the aluminum / silver rims, replacing those of the first series, which were in antique white.
In 1967 the Moke was reclassified and was considered a vehicle intended for private use. The favorable tax regime disappeared and the purchase price went up, effectively causing the end of production, in 1968, of this car in Great Britain. To give an idea of the failure that the car had at home, think that of the 15,000 units produced only 1,500 were sold in the United Kingdom.It was also attempted to sell it in the USA where, however, it achieved little success.A Mini Moke on a Barbados beach
In 1966, production began in Australia, a country that, due to its climate, was better suited to the use of a car of this kind. The car was made at the British Motor Company’s plants in Sydney. The engine used had a displacement of 1,000 cm³ and was known as the Morris Mini Moke. In 1969 the Mark II version was introduced, with the name of BMC Mini Moke. The car while maintaining the one-liter engine had improvements to the brakes, cooling system, drive system and larger wheels. In 1970 the word “Mini” disappeared and the car became the BMC Moke and later Leyland Moke. Production in Australia ended in 1981 after 26,000 were made. In addition, special versions were also produced such as the pick-up version (1974) and the Californian equipped with a 1,300 cm³ engine which was sold for a couple of years. Later (1977) it was revived but with the 1,000 cm³ engine. Among the improvements introduced on the cars produced in Australia there was also the removable top that was fastened with zippers.