Just joined the Forum having read various posts about Moke body details. My interest is Austin Champs, hence the user name, but as the bodies were built at Fisher & Ludlow there are obvious links. F&L built a wide range of bodies for a number of manufacturers but, after being taken over by BMC in '53 made just for BMC. (This caused a lot of trouble for the likes of Standard.) It sounds like the situation with the Moke mirrored exactly the method Austin used with the Champ. The Champ bodies were constructed at Castle Bromwich (which, during the war, was a 'shadow factory' and had manufactured Spitfires.) up to the end of production in 1956. F&L allocated each product a 'body number' and this was hand-stamped into the front o/s dumbiron. The bodies were then delivered to the East Works, Longbridge, by F&L's own transport. The bodies were stockpiled and used as required by Austin. This meant that occasionally a body, or a batch of bodies, would be stuck up a corner for a while and they were used out of sequence. Each body assembly had an F&L Body Number which, presumably, would have been in sequence at Castle Bromwich. The Champ was then allocated a Chassis Number and its body number became incidental. Of the 12,000 or so Champs, we only know of two where the body numbers and chassis numbers match.
It causes trouble for owners in foreign countries because the Champ chassis number is on a riveted (and therefore removable or swapable) plate on the firewall and some countries, such as Finland, will only accept a number irremovably marked on the structure. The Champ body numbers went from 1 to around 12,000. Most were simple figures, stamped by hand. Some had the company logo as well. This was a circle with 'F&L' in the centre. Very few had this. We've seen numerous 1s upside down and 5s on their sides and some are pretty illegible, but, as I say, they only ever meant anything to F&L themselves.
To confuse matter more, when the main user of the Champ, the British Army, did a total rebuild of one they would sometimes obliterate the old number, or weld a plate over it and allocate a new one, and we've yet to find out what these new numbers meant !
I'm the Editor of Champ World, the magazine of the Austin Champ Owners Club, and have been researching F&L for years now for an article I intend to publish. If any of you have any information, in particular, photos, I would be very grateful to hear from you. In all that time searching I have never seen a photo of Champ bodies being constructed there. Importantly for you guys, I've never seen anything to do with Mokes either. But if I find anything I'll let you know. I've enjoyed reading the various posts. It sounds like you guys are as enthusiastic about Mokes as we are about Champs. I do have a Moke photo, a very rough old one belonging to a mate of mine in Australia, but I can't work out how to upload it !! Clicking on the 'Img' tab above produces an instruction I don't understand ! Apologies. Regards. Andrew.