Potential Purchase of the Week: 1966 Austin Mini Moke
Earlier this year, Mini debuted the Beachcomber concept, which was a take on the original Mini Moke. The Beachcomber was really a preview for the Countryman crossover, however, and we found something better, attainable, and authentic: an original 1966 Austin Mini Moke as our Potential Purchase of the Week.
Originally designed as a prototype for a light military vehicle à la the Jeep, the Moke is certainly an interesting concept. It used the same mechanicals as the Mini itself, meaning a small 850-cubic-centimeter I-4 and four-speed manual transmission. A four-wheel-drive version was even built, using a second engine to power the rear wheels. All of this was done in the hopes that Austin would be able to snag a share of the British military market from Land Rover.
Alas, it wasn't to be, as the Moke's low ground clearance and small wheels made it impractical for use as a true off-road vehicle for the military. Those same characteristics, however, made the Moke a popular beach buggy when it went into civilian production in 1964. Despite finding success as a beach buggy, Mini intended to market it as commercial vehicle, targeting farmers and those who needed it as a light commercial application.
In the United Kingdom, the Moke was built between 1964 and 1968, but the small canvas-topped buggy stayed in production in other markets around the world until 1993 in a similar manner to the original Volkswagen Beetle. The Moke was manufactured in Australia between 1966 and 1981, and by 1993, Portugal was the last country to build them.
The Moke offered here is one of the original Austin Mini Mokes out of Great Britain. It has the original 850-cubic-centimeter engine and four-speed transmission, and has been completely rebuilt.
Why would I want one?
The Moke is sure to be unique in your neighborhood, and is rather rare in its own right. The ability to completely remove the top makes it a great summer cruiser. As it's based on the original Mini, it can be a blast to just toss around town as well.
This particular example underwent a complete frame-off restoration and is rebuilt to factory specifications. Knowing modern restoration techniques and old British manufacturing, it likely runs better now than it would have out of the factory. Although this car is being sold in Canada, it's over 25 years old, so potential American purchasers shouldn't have a problem with importation.