Far from being a generic term for a boxy, very fun, open vehicle; “Mini Moke” or “Moke” actually means only one thing: a specific piece of motoring history built by the British Motor Corporation and British Leyland between 1964 and 1993. Contrary to uninformed belief, Mini Mokes were never available in kit form, but have always been factory produced using a steel monocoque body tub mounted on Mini sub frames and powered by an “A” series Mini engine/gearbox unit. Be it from England, Australia or Portugal, Mokes have always left the factory fully assembled.
The Mini Moke was designed by Sir Alec Issigonis at the same time as the Mini Saloon. The first pre-production prototypes were produced in 1959. Other variations were made and offered to the military of several countries up until 1964, including a couple of four-wheel-drive versions with two engines. Some of these prototypes are still in existence.
The first production Mini Moke with 10” wheels 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, 90% of which were exported.
Production then switched entirely to BMC’s factory in Sydney, Australia, where Moke assembly had taken place since 1966. A number of specification changes, including 13”, wheels were made to suit local conditions, commercial requirements & the potential leisure market. The Leyland Moke to various specifications continued to be manufactured in Australia until early 1982.
In 1983 production was restarted in Portugal by British Leyland. Initially the final Australian specification was used, but this was substantially revised in 1986 using 12” wheel sub-assemblies from the Mini City car. Under the control of Austin-Rover Portugal, this Moke continued in production until mid-1989.
The manufacturing rights for the Moke were sold in 1990 to the Italian company Cagiva, which produced practically identical, but cosmetically enhanced, Mokes in Portugal from 1991 through to early 1993, when the last Mini Moke was made.
(Full details of the history of all variations of the Mini Moke can be found in “Moke—The History” Available HERE )