When Sir Paul McCartney and Brigitte Bardot posed in one these beauties during their mid-Sixties heyday, they’d have been hard pushed to get them further than Blackpool seafront.
After all, the Mini Moke was made to throw shapes on the beach and not really to undergo long family treks up the then-recently opened M1.
But like all things Sixties, the Moke has made a comeback, and this time it has been made fit for more modern motoring.
More than half a century since its launch, an updated version of the Mini Moke is being produced in Britain once again.
Originally designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, the creator of the Mini, as a military vehicle that could be deployed behind enemy lines by aeroplane, the Moke was turned down by the Army top brass due to its poor ground clearance and a lack of off-road prowess.
Undaunted, Sir Alec switched tack and the British Motor Corporation began to market the Moke as a low-cost, low-maintenance civilian vehicle. As a result, it became a fashionable run-around for beach resorts.
Bardot – who was regularly photographed driving her dogs around St Tropez in one – The Beatles and The Beach Boys were all seen behind the wheel after they began to roll off the Longbridge production lines in 1964, making them one of the best loved symbols of 1960s motoring.
The modern-day version of the Moke boasts better braking, suspension and a top speed of 68mph
More recently, Kate Moss drove one of the original models at her wedding. And like Bardot, she has also been spotted driving one around St Tropez, with her daughter in the back.
The new Mini Moke, fully engineered and assembled in the Midlands, this time near Coventry, comes with a price tag of £24,000, although that does also include a roll-down canvas roof for those British showers.
While the look has not changed, some of the detailing has, and in a very British way. It now boasts waterproof seats made of a wipe-down rubber based material – ideal when you are caught out by a shower and have not had time to put the roof up.
The vehicle is also slightly larger than the original to provide more cabin space, and now comes with standard features previously viewed as a luxury, such as power steering and heated windscreen.
The Moke has been made more robust since its rather tin-can predecessor of the Sixties, with the chassis, braking and suspension designed and built in line with modern standards and a top speed of 68mph.
Mindful of the new environmental demands of customers, an electric version is also available.
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One fan of the new Moke is Claudia Schiffer, one of the original supermodels, who last week posted footage of herself in a baby powder blue version, and described herself as “driving into the weekend in style”.
Last September, a limited edition of the new Moke was marketed, with 56 sold to mark the number of years since its launch. The success of that venture encouraged the brand’s new owners, Moke International, to launch it across Europe and the United States.
Mark Truman, lead engineer at Moke International, said: “My role is to preserve the integrity and spirit of the original Moke whilst incorporating the very best of today’s technologies that match the requirements of a new generation.”
A spokesman for Moke International added: “People now see the Moke as a really fun country cruiser for the family, and not just something for beach resorts. They are great fun to drive and are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.”