Moke returns with updated beach car

Moke International plans to launch US sales in 2021

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British resort and beach vehicle returns as the new Moke | Moke International Limited photos

“Moke is an iconic British brand that has always evoked feelings of fun and freedom,” said Isobel Dando, chief executive of Moke International Limited, as the brand announced its return September 16.

“The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Brigitte Bardot have all been captivated by the personality and unique styling of these iconic cars. We’re excited to relaunch the brand into a new era and introduce Moke to the next generation.” 

“Brigitte Bardot epitomized Riviera chic in her Moke,” the company noted. “The brand has since been enjoyed and championed by fun-seekers including Kate Moss and DJ Khalid. To date the car has also appeared in four James Bond films.” 

Car in Coconut White with ‘hood’ in place

The original Mokes, called Mini Mokes because of their Austin Mini underpinnings, were designed —by none other than the famed Alec Issigonis — for dropping behind enemy lines from aircraft. But in civilian hands they became sort of the British version of the dune buggy, motor vehicles designed primarily for use in resort communities. They were built in England from 1964-1968, and then  in Australia and finally, until 1993, in Portugal after rights were sold to Italian motorcycle manufacturer Cagiva.

“The Moke became one of the best-loved symbols of the 1960s,” the company said. “Becoming the mode of travel for the inhabitants of the most exclusive coastal resorts in Europe, the Caribbean, US and Asia. To this day, it remains the beachhouse-to-waterfront shuttle of choice.”

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Rights to Moke were acquired in 2015 and the company is led by Dando with Mark Truman in charge of engineering and production. Both are experienced British automotive managers, with experience at such companies as Aston Martin, BMW, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover.

“My role at Moke 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,” Truman is quoted in the company’s announcement of the first batch of 56 vehicles for British buyers. Base price is £20,000 ($25,965).

While maintaining much of its traditional styling, the new Moke offers more interior space and has a contemporary 4-cylinder, 67-horsepower, fuel-injected engine, the buyer’s choice of manual or automatic transmission, and has updated suspension and brakes. Power brakes and a heated windshield are standard equipment. 

Top speed is reported to be 68 mph.

The launch features the 56 units of the limited-edition Moke 56 as well as the Moke Classic. The vehicle is available in 14 colors. The company says it already has a waiting list of Caribbean resorts and private buyers who live along the British coast. Plans call for sales in Europe, the US and other markets to begin in 2021.

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For more information, visit the Moke International website.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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