Military Reject Turned PICNIC PAL
A Peek inside Dave's shrine to the Mini Moke
Owning five of the same car means it is either brilliant or you're probably a bit mad. Lets just say that with the Moke, it's a combination of the two.
Based on the Mini, the Moke was originally designed as a light utility vehicle for the military: to be dropped in remote places for troops to effortlessly hop in and nip about. The problem was its tiny wheels, lack of power and poor ground clearance were no match for any obstacle more than two inches off the ground. It was soon relegated, produced instead for the UK public between 1964 and 1968. You can also pick up a few Australian and Portuguese models too from their production that lasted until the eighties and nineties.
For Dave the fun of the Moke comes from driving it. It offers something that no other car can: honest simplicity. It's got the same cheeky character you get with the Mini, but a bit more 'nude'. Out and about, people just gravitate towards it. The winning combination of the friendly club nature and the car itself makes it a worthy pastime.
Dave's back garden is half museum, an array of collected street furniture including lamp-posts, roadsigns and old petrol pumps. A freshly painted Moke body sits in the sun ready to be assembled. There are two more in the garage and another two in storage. Dave's favourite is actually the first ever car registered with the Moke owners club.
There are endless shelves of bits to keep this special collection of cars going for years to come. There are over a dozen 10 inch wheels, old engines waiting to be reconditioned and a host of original extras. Dave believes in the quality of original parts and avoids reproduced items at all cost. So many Mokes are labelled wrongly, with wrong parts, wrong dates and incorrect seller listings. Dave explains how the limited production run of the Moke in the UK makes finding a genuine British one really special.
After a few splutters the little A series engine kicks happily into life. The controls are basic: the dim-dip switch is traditionally foot operated and there's no radio. The large original steering wheel likes to wobble on high choke. You really are quite exposed in this car. If you're a rather self-conscious driver, this probably isn't for you. For Dave, it's about shoving a picnic in the back, finding a few other Moke friends and just heading out for a day of fun at the seaside.
The Moke is a car that's very particular in what it offers. You can't expect people to take you seriously in it, but then when you're having as much fun as this, nothing else really matters.