The Moke is back – classic British motoring icon now on sale in the UK again

Published: 16 September 2020

► Revived Moke for sale in the UK
► Part-assembled in the Midlands
► Plans to take over the world

If you’re a fan of advanced automotive engineering and cutting-edge technology, you can look away now. But anyone with even a passing interest in quirky British classic motoring will probably be amused to learn that you can now buy a brand new Moke here in the UK.

Moke International, which acquired the Moke trademark in 2015, has been building a modernised Moke for a number of years already – now, however, it’s not only acquired regulatory approval to sell them in the UK, it’s also started manufacturing the bodies and sub-assemblies in the Midlands.

Bit of a far-cry from a continuation Bentley Blower or Aston Martin DB5, eh? But also quite a lot cheaper (though you still may want to be sitting down when we get to the price).

What… is it?

Ah. So if you’re not familiar with this boxy looking, bodywork-dodging piece of curiosity, it originated in the late 1950s as a prototype lightweight military vehicle, designed by Alec Issigonis and John Sheppard, and based on the same chassis and major components as the classic Mini.

Moke International Moke, now on sale in the UK, Coconut White, side view, with hood roof

While the military ambitions were never realised, it went on to become a slightly madcap recreational vehicle. Popular enough that it remained in continuous production until 1993, albeit in a somewhat globe-trotting fashion; UK production stopped in 1968, but it was then built in Australia and Portugal, locations with arguably more suitable climates for a device with no doors.

So, this new Moke is just a copy of the old one?

Not quite. The new Moke – or MOKE as the firm would shoutily have it – is the product of an international collaboration that spans from here to China.

The design refers back to the original ‘Buckboard’ prototypes as well as the later production version, but is marginally bigger to better accommodate the four adult passengers it can carry.

It also benefits from some key modernisation – namely a newer engine, a heated windscreen and… power steering.

What’s under the bonnet?

The new Moke is powered by a 1083cc, four-cylinder petrol engine that claims 34mpg.

Moke International Moke, now on sale in the UK, Flamingo Pink, dead-on front view

Given it weighs about as much as a box of peanuts, even the modest 67bhp and 68lb ft should provide adequate niftiness for pottering about in the sunshine – though a top speed of 68mph and a four-speed automatic transmission may inhibit any long-distance ambitions a tad.

A manual gearbox is listed as an option for ‘the more engaged driver.’ The brakes and suspension are uprated versus the original, too, which may come as something of a relief.

Why isn’t it electric?

That was our first thought as well. But it seems that for the UK reintroduction, the company has decided that a more traditional ICE solution was the safest bet.

There are electric versions available elsewhere in the world, however, and more variants are planned for sale here.

Who is it for?

Well, Moke International was founded to service demand for this kind of machine in the Caribbean and Australia, where it’s popular with hotels and other tourist ventures, as well as private buyers.

Moke International Moke, now on sale in the UK, Watermelon Red, top view

The move to start building substantial chunks of them in the UK is precursor to a broader assault on other European markets. Although the bodies are being built here, final assembly still takes place in Moke International’s established factory in Cerizay, France.

Go on, then: how much is it?

‘Indicative’ pricing starts at £20,000. Plus tax. And that’s just for the standard version, let alone the limited 56 launch editions, which feature extra chrome and unique badges.

If you’re serious, you’ll have to jump on the configurator (yes, really – check out the quite remarkable combination of colours you can achieve) and ask the Moke team to send you a quote.

Bascially, you’re going to have to really want one. More power to you if you do. We’re quite keen on a go ourselves.

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count

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