With no interest from the military, in 1963 BMC decided to develop a version of the Moke for the civilian market using the original 80 inch wheelbase version.
The Moke was based on the standard Mini wheelbase and utilised pressed steel unitary construction bodywork, an open type body with a vinyl treated fabric tilt cover supported by a detachable folding frame providing weather protection. Simplicity of design and rugged construction led to a perception of the vehicle having an indestructible character. Only 18 inches of the vehicle was taken up by the transverse 848cc engine.
Production began in January 1964 using a slightly detuned version of the standard 850 A series engine used in the standard Mini with mechanical parts including subframes, suspension, steering and brakes taken from the Mini.
The first production Mini Mokes consisted of a batch of ten Austin models produced at BMC's Longbridge factory in Birmingham on 30th January 1964 and destined for Papua and Singapore. The second batch wasn't built until 25th June and the first Morris wasn't built until 1st July. Production of the Mini Moke continued here until late October 1968.
The English Mini Mokes were available as either Austin or Morris, but the only differences were the badges, the horn push and the first letter of the chassis number. They were supplied from the factory with only a single steel driver's seat and a canvas roof as standard - everything else was extra. The passenger seat, identical rear seats, sump guard, seat belts and grab handles all had to be ordered. Other items were available from third party manufacturers including side screens and a fibreglass hardtop from Barton. As introduced, the Moke was sold as a commercial vehicle alongside the Van and Pick Up and interestingly, the law at that time stated that without a passenger seat, a speed of 40mph could not be exceeded.
Although never officially introduced by BMC, the Moke evolved into a Mark 2 when the Mark 2 Mini designation was introduced in October 1967 and the Moke began to adopt the improvements. Hence English Mokes made up until this time are commonly referred to as "Mark 1", and those afterwards as "Mark 2"
Mokes tended to be built in runs of 50 or less. Over the entire production period, output of the Moke was at some times erratic and it is still unclear at which periods Moke production was at its greatest.
It has generally been assumed that English production ceased in early October 1968, but in fact it carried on until the end of the month. The last Morris Mini Moke was produced on 23rd October with chassis number M AB1 1215775 and engine number 8AC WEH 373 in Spruce Green. The last Austin and final English Mini Moke went down the production line on 25th October with chassis number A AB1 1220071 and engine number 8AC WEH 460 in Snowberry White.
Total English Moke production was 14,518, split between Austin 5,422 and Morris 9,096.
Mokes were originally only available in Spruce Green but Old English White became an option from mid 1966. After October 1967 when the Mark 2 Mini was introduced, Old English White was discontinued and replaced by Snowberry White.
Research has also revealed that Mokes may have been available to special order in other colours besides white or green - notably for the Police in Police White and for Wimpey Homes in Orange. These Mokes may have been assembled along the commercial line at Longbridge.
All English Mini Mokes only ever had a one piece front panel with a non-removable grille and a bonnet without any central ridge.
Mark 1 Mokes can be identified by having a chrome indicator stalk with a flashing green lamp, a floor mounted headlight dip switch, single wiper, a central horn push and white wheel rims with small stainless steel hubcaps. Mark 2 Mokes differ by having an all purpose direction indicator, horn and headlamp stalk with a chrome end piece. They also have two switches on the dashboard, a speedo with mph and km/h and a twin wiper rack with silver wheel rims. In fact, the twin wiper rack began to be fitted from mid 1967 so some Mark 1 Mokes will also have this. There have of course also been numerous DIY upgrades.
All English Mokes were fitted with an 848cc A series engine with a manual four speed gearbox and 10 inch wheels with drum brakes all round. The engine was a de-tuned version of the standard Mini Saloon engine so suitable for commercial grade fuel
In October 1968 the four speed synchromesh gearbox was introduced. Engines fitted with this later type of gearbox are signified by the letters WE in the engine number prefix. Engine numbers were reset at 101. As a further clue to identification, the four speed synchromesh gearbox casing had the casting number 22G 1128 stamped on the front, adjacent to the oil filter housing.
English Mokes have a combined circular sidelight / front indicator assembly at the front and at the rear, the stop/tail light, indicator light and reflector are arranged in a triangular pattern. The battery is fitted inside the right hand side member of the body with access via an inspection plate on the top pannier. The fuel tank is mounted inside the left side member with a very large filler cap mounted on the top. Heaters were never a standard fitting but may have been fitted by dealers.
6. Identification of English Mokes
Chassis numbers are to be found on a plate attached to the top of the radiator cowling. Morris versions commence with M-AB1 and Austin versions with A-AB1. Left hand drive versions will have an additional (L) digit.
The body number is found stamped to a plate on the right hand side inner wing. Beneath the body number you will also find the commission number.
Engine numbers commence with 8AC to indicate a Moke engine. Some engine numbers may have the additional letters "FA" hand punched on them. This indicates that a distributor for regular grade fuel was fitted.
7. Model Identification Summary
All models: Non removable front grille and bonnet without central ridge. Individual rear lamps in a triangular pattern and steel seats with canvas squabs.
Mark 1 (1964-1967) Single wiper, floor mounted dip switch and central horn push.
Mark 2 (1967-1968) Twin wiper rack, multi purpose indicator stalk, mph & km/h speedometer.