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Monday, March 28, 2016

Need a Beach Cruiser? The Answer is a Cagiva Moke

BLOD RIDE

Copyright © 2016 Bold Ride LLC.
 
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Some vehicles just ooze summertime—the sun, the sand, the lazy afternoons by the water. It doesn’t get much better than that. It also doesn’t get much more summery than this trendy beach cruiser, a Cagiva Moke (née “Mini Moke”). 
 
Born from the mind of legendary Mini designer Alec Issigonis, the Moke was the off-road sibling to Issigonis’ zippy Mini people’s car. It road atop the same chassis and utilized the same running gear as the Mini, all while maintaining an appearance all its own.

While you won’t find too many on North American soil, the Moke went on to become quite the cult classic with European and Australian beachgoers, collectors, and those in vogue for its carefree looks and droptop appeal. However, that wasn’t exactly the original plan. Initially, the Moke was developed as a military vehicle.

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With a simple design and featherweight heft, the Moke was intended to be a light troop vehicle capable of being airlifted by helicopter. In that sense it was a success, however its small tires, front wheel drive, and minimal ground clearance scored few points with both the British Army and U.S. Army. It never took flight.

Instead, in 1964 British Motor Corporation (BMC) marketed the plucky Mini Moke to the civilian market, and like the American Jeep it emulated, it caught on. Production began in Britain but by 1966 a second factory in Australia took up production of the little ute, and would produce the lion’s share of Mokes.

In 1983, Production was shifted once again, but this time back to European soil—Portugal. It would continue under the British Leyland flag until 1991, which is where this car comes into the picture—a Cagiva Moke. In 1991, Italian motorcycle company Cagiva purchased the rights to build the Moke, and kept the Portuguese factory pumping for a final two years.


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Interestingly, this Moke—a ’93 model—is said to be one of the last ever built. According to RM Sotheby’s its current owner purchased it new, and over the past two decades has only driven it a short 1,139 miles. It would seem that teeny 998cc A-series Mini engine still has some significant life left in it.

Rarer still, the Moke’s classic roll cage skeleton comes draped with the optional full weather gear… you know, for when those hot and sunny summer days aren’t so hot and sunny.

Looking for a beach cruiser this summer? The Cagiva Moke crosses the block in Monaco on May 14th, and you can bet it’ll demand a premium.

Photo Credit: Tom Gidden, RM Sotheby’s