Australia is viewed by the rest of the world as a rugged country. Not, perhaps in Sydney during Mardi Gras, but for the most part we are seen as croc wrestlers and outback types. Most of us accept this for what it is hype – and just go about our daily lives mowing lawns and doing overtime at the bottle shop. I do mine on the buying side of the counter…
But for the car manufacturers, the myth and legend must have had a strong appeal. We have seen, in my lifetime on the road, such bizarrities as fake Kubelwagens, corgi-like Jeep copies, and a Japanese 4WD that only drove on 2 of those W’s and was so narrow it would fall over in a breeze.
The car in this report is the BMC Mini Moke. Originally designed as a military vehicle along the likes of a Jeep, it had nether the ground clearance nor the drive train to succeed. It might have made an admirable deck tug for British aircraft carriers when they had them, but the thought of it going through eastern European mud is hilarious. I think it would bottom out on a snail.
nevertheless, It could be made and sold in great quantities to the colonies as a utility vehicle. As long as you did not have to cross a railway track at speed, it was admirable.
This example seems to have been modified with dual rear axles – to what purpose I cannot say. The drive is still in the front, clawing along like a Mini Minor. The owner has done a wonderful job of it and I envy him the tray space back there. If this is a vehicle that travels over tarmacs at the airports with tools and parts in the back housings, it is perfectly suited. I cannot tell you what might be in the flat drawers, but spanners, postage stamps, or macaroons come to mind.
The office in the front is immaculate, and you have to admire the wood-rimmed wheel. It looks a fun car to drive in fine weather. I’ll bet it has returned every bit of enjoyment that the owner anticipated when he bought it – and I’ll bet he could sell it for the same price right now.