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Motoring: Morris Mini Moke - 1964

The Mini Moke is utility vehicle based on the Mini designed by the British Motor Corporation (BMC). The name comes from "Mini" - the car with which the Moke shares many parts - and "Moke", which is an archaic dialect term for donkey. The Moke was marketed under various names including Austin Mini Moke, Morris Mini Moke and Leyland Moke.

The Moke was designed for the British Army and developed in Australia, for whom 600 twin-engined 4-wheel-drive versions were purpose-built. Although the 4WD Moke could climb a 2-in-1 gradient, it proved to have insufficient ground clearance for military use. The single-engined front-wheel-drive Moke enjoyed some popularity in civilian production. About 50,000 were made. The car featured in the cult 1967 TV series The Prisoner, and is popular in holiday locations such as Barbados and Macau, where Mokes were used as police cars. Mokes were also available to rent there as recently as March 2006. "Moke" is archaic British slang for a donkey. Production dates: 1964 and 1968 in the UK, 1966 - 1982 in Australia and 1983 - 1989 in Portugal.

Moke Californian

For a brief period around 1972, Leyland Australia produced a variant referred to in Leyland literature as "Moke, special export", but commonly called a "Californian", which had a 1,275 cc engine and was fitted with side marker lamps and different rear lights to conform to US FMVSS standards. The fuel tank from the Austin Sprite or MG Midget was fitted beneath the rear load area, replacing the standard tank mounted in the left sidebox.

The export Californian was readily recognisable by its roof and seats, trimmed with optional 'Op-pop verve' black and white tiger striped vinyl or 'Orange Bali' vinyl, which looked rather like a fruit salad, and was briefly marketed to the 'flower power' culture in the United States. The name "Californian" and the 1275 cc motor were resurrected in 1977 for Australian market Mokes with denim seat covers, more comfortable seats (which concealed the same basic frame within), spoked wheels and complex tubular bumpers (known as 'roo bars').

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