Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Moking About

A recent discovery in the Archive, my beloved Mini Moke. Photographed in 1972 at the remote farm we were living in on the Essex / Suffolk border, (telephone exchange Steeple Bumpstead), it was as much fun as it was infuriating. There were no side screens, just the roof, and certainly no heater. There was a fuel gauge, but a more reliable indicator was to get your passenger to unscrew the big cap off the tank, which sat sloshing about next to their left knee. It started life as a track vehicle on Newmarket Racecourse, and was the perfect vehicle to go with Cream LPs and very short skirts. (Mrs. Ashley's I hasten to add. She learnt the rudiments of driving in it, furiously speeding up and down the farm tracks with a big straw hat on.) Alec Issigonis designed it at the same time as its stable mate the Mini saloon, with a steel monocoque body and the 'A' Series engine. They made 15,000 of them at Longbridge from January 1964 to October 1968, and then production moved to BMC's plant in Sydney until early 1982. It was still being made by Italian firm Cagiva in Portugal until 1993. But this was an original, complete with Dunlop Town & Country tyres, rubber clips to hold the bonnet in place, removable seat cushions so you could hose it down, and, the most remarkable thing of all, a current tax disc.

17 comments:

TIW said...

And still being made in China, apparently - albeit electric powered.

Thud said...

Split knee loons with your cream albums?

Jon Dudley said...

I thought you were off with your bucket and spade but thanks for stirring a few memories before you've left. They made a version with two engines I believe...but this is a delight.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Charmant. Tres. In 1976 my dear old father promised me a car for my birthday. I was overcome with excited anticipation until I saw it was a beige Ford Popular. I had hoped for a metallic Simca. No synchromesh, so I had to learn to double de-clutch. Of course, my calves are still the toast of the Thames Valley, so I shouldn't complain.

Peter Ashley said...

Oh Mrs.Pouncer, I can see those calves now, demurely emerging from the Ford Pop in Thame High Street. My father's first car was an apple green Popular, registration SJF 437 (in case it's still out there). He drove it in Dents driving gloves and his tongue hanging out for some reason.

Simon said...

But were you ever chased by a big white balloon whilst driving it?

Peter Ashley said...

Knowing my predilictions in 1972 Simon I probably always thought I was.

martin said...

In 1972,my sole mode of conveyance was an ex-GPO BSA Bantam 125cc.
Jealous doesn't even come close..

Peter Ashley said...

My Uncle Ray had a BSA Bantam. It was pale green with colourful bantam transfers on the fuel tank. Yours, Martin, was presumably just red and white. Were you tempted to go and deliver faux telegrams to people on it?

Philip Wilkinson said...

Oh, excellent, the Moke. I remember envying the Gloucestershire youths who zoomed around country lanes and farm tracks in them, rather as they do on quad bikes now. Mokes being much better of course, though the necessity for a good hose down afterwards must be about the same. A brilliant design – even if the bumper looks rather more businesslike than the brackets that hold it in place.

Diplomate said...

you say this is ex Newmarket - did you buy it from them or was there an owner betwixt - if so I have a feeling i may know this truck from Tostock in Suffolk.

Circe said...

Adorable and looking to be highly practical. Two please.

My sister's vintage Barbie with the bob haircut, actual pierced ears, and 3d solid eyelashes over half-mast cat eye makeup and pleather boots would look extra fab in it. Perfect for Carnaby Street c. 1964 or, even a turn of the century Texas farmstead completely with lupins and mountain lions.

I'm imagining Mrs. Ashley in terms of Mrs. Peel a bit here.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday, filled with all sorts of new things to become (at least eventually) nostalgic about.

Safe, if expectedly eventful?, travels.



http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_OlpdHd4L__0/SYkZsOwP87I/AAAAAAAAD7c/e2AXoEyBwnY/s400/vintage+barbie+in+evening+prom+dress.JPG

http://media.photobucket.com/image/vintage%20barbie/LoveOrWar/vintage-barbie-art-6.jpg

Peter Ashley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Ashley said...

Circe: Thankyou for the Vintage Barbie. Mrs.A didn't look like that in the Moke, or Mrs.Peel either. But she was, and indeed is, very, very pretty.

Diplomate said...

Now then - i came across what i think is this particular truck in Tostock Suffolk 70/71 - you obviously recall the previous keeper from the log book. My personal preference in the "light weight" department would have to be the Mehari - available in 4wd and issued to the froggy army in all its plastic sturdiness. Also favoured by AC for collecting the grass cuttings at Saltwood - his was the 2wd but very agile version.

martin said...

Bantam update:
It was indeed red and white,and I was very fond of it, despite it being a sod to start in damp weather.
I sold it on,in order to purchase a Susuki 250.Ah,the folly of youth..

Peter Ashley said...

I bought the Moke from a garage in Whittlesford, Cambridgeshire, if that helps.