A recreational vehicle, or beach buggy to most, it was a fun car for 
a relaxed lifestyle – no doors, no roof, no worries!

The last Moke rolled off the production line 20 years ago. It was thought the world would never see another one – that is until Moke International set up in 2005 with the aim of bringing it back to life. In October 2012 the new Moke was showcased with help from Chery Motors, the seventh largest Chinese auto manufacturer, and its subsidiary Sicar Engineering.

The original Moke was designed for the British Motor Corporation by Sir Alec Issigonis, the same man who designed the Mini. It was originally intended as an off-road vehicle for the British Army, but the army wasn’t interested. So, instead, a civilian version was launched in 1964 as a low-cost utility vehicle. Production started in the UK, then moved to Australia and finally to Portugal, where it ended in 1993.

The designer given the task of bringing the Moke up to date and heading up the design team at Moke International was Michael Young, a British-born industrial designer based in Hong Kong. As a Moke enthusiast, it was a role he was only too willing to take on. “The Moke was designed for military use but it failed on all levels and became a fun car. I mean, how can you not love it?” asks Young.

In fact, Young had recently rebuilt a Moke from the ground up. “I have a few old cars and I paid €40 000 to get my Moke made by a local dealer, which is a joke. But I paid that to understand the car and the parts as a study. The new Moke costs around US$5000 – it’s for the people and utilitarian, not for the collector,” he comments.

But when embarking on this project Young faced a challenge because, although the design needed to show that the car has evolved over the past 20 years, it couldn’t be too radical and neither could it be a complete replica of the past. “I wanted to redesign it and Moke International wanted that too but we had to show restraint. Most designers would ask ‘why did he do so little?’ but most lovers of the Moke would say ‘thank you’ as the spirit of the car remains,” says Young.

Moke International will initially produce 1000 units a year, with the first models being rolled out in mid 2013. But this isn’t the end as there is more to come. “We are already making plans for the electric version, which is an obvious step forward for the Moke, and, who knows, as the market grows anything is possible,” says Young. “I certainly have the ideas and dreams at hand for the next generation and putting a bit more fun into the art of motoring.”

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