The Moke is back, baby!Fri, 11 Oct 2013
The past two days have been quite an emotional roller coaster. First, we were crushed to hear that the end of the line is fast approaching for the rugged, beloved Land Rover Defender. Next thing we know, we're reading about the resumption of Moke production in China over at Hemmings and everything is sunshine and rainbows once again.
Based on the Mini platform and designed for military use, the original Moke's laughably tiny wheels and utter lack of ground clearance meant that nobody in their right minds would ever drive one into battle. Mokes eventually carved out a niche in beachside resort towns; they were in production in Portugal until 1993.
The new Moke looks more or less like the old one on the outside, but it doesn't have anything in common with the new Minis -- it's reportedly all-new under its (minimal) skin. Powertrain options consist of a 1.0-liter I4 gasoline engine or an electric motor and a set of batteries (that's for the eMoke EV, of course).
We expect the real new Mokes to look a bit less computer-rendered.
Kurt Ernst at Hemmings reports that a company called Moke International is working with Chery to built the cars under a joint venture agreement with Jaguar Land Rover. It's not really a fair trade for the impending death of the Defender, but the brightly colored scooters are charming in their own ways. The first batch of vehicles is reportedly going to Australia. Though the Mokes are equipped with seatbelts for the driver and front passenger, we doubt they'll ever make it to the U.S. in a form suitable for registration on public roads. That doesn't mean they wouldn't work well in seaside resorts or communities designed to accommodate travel by golf cart.
The Chinese seem to be in the habit of reviving dead automakers of late; Saab and MG both have new leases on life thanks to Chinese interests. Is a Humber resurrection too much to ask for? We're sure that Super Snipe tooling is lying around somewhere.
By Graham Kozak