Moke

Road to Kings Canyon, Northern Territory - August 1991
Cannibal Creek, Cape York Queensland - August 1986
Cannibal Creek, Cape York Queensland - August 1986
Silver City Hwy, North of Broken Hill, NSW - 1991
Silver City Hwy, North of Broken Hill, NSW - 1991
Jayne's Moke, Aldinga Beach, Adelaide. Circa 1985
Jayne's Moke, Aldinga Beach, Adelaide. Circa 1985

I've been into Mokes since buying this one in March 1982. I met my wife Jayne in the Moke Owners Association in July 1983.

My Moke is like the grandfather's axe, three new handles and two new heads but still the same axe. It's on its second body, third or fourth roof and I don't know how many engines. Since buying it in March 1982 I've driven a SQUILLION miles in it. I'll never know the real figure as I didn't have a working odometer for nearly three years.

It's built for off-road use, but is still surprisingly standard in the mechanical department. I've always run standard 1100 engines, nice and reliable, but ensure good water and dust-proofing. Hi-Lo suspension at the front and jacked-up about two inches at the rear, there is also a set of heavy duty gas shockers on the front.

The new body, a 1981 galvanised shell, has been welded for strength and painted with a brush. From a few feet away it looks okay, but as the whole job cost $35.00 and the car gets very roughly treated, I don't complain.

I've driven the Moke to Cape York in Far North Queensland, Darwin, Perth and a few trips into the Australian Outback. It will cruise all day at 100 km/h on almost any road conditions so what more can I ask for? I'm not interested in travelling at warp speed but I want my Moke to get me to the kinds of places most people only dream about.

One problem I have is an inaccurate fuel gauge. I could write a book on the places I've run out of fuel. Carrying a 20 lt Jerry can is as much a necessity in the city as in the outback.

Unfortunately, the Moke has been off the road for about four years. It's getting a full work-over, but not a restoration.

 

Near Cameron Corner, NSW - 1984
Near Cameron Corner, NSW - 1984
3rd Place, MOA Concours - 1984
3rd Place, MOA Concours - 1984
As bought, home-build roof - Jan 1982
As bought, home-build roof - Jan 1982
Ulupna Island, Murray River, Victoria - January 1998
Ulupna Island, Murray River, Victoria - January 1998

Major Moke Trips

These are just the major trips I've done and don't include the numerous bush trips and touring trips around Victoria and Southern New South Wales. Each of these trips was four weeks and averaged around 10,000 km (6,000 miles). The first main trip I did, The Circumnavigation Of Southern Western Australia (COSWA) was in January 1983, with six other Mokes and 11 other Mokees. That was the worst time of year to travel into the Outback. On the hottest day crossing the Nullabor Plain the temperature reached a staggering 52 degrees C and even the water-proofing on my roof was melting and dripping off in the breeze.


Without doubt the best trip I've done was to Cape York in August 1986 with four other Mokes. One Moke blew its differential in the Wenlock River, but this only held us up four hours as we changed the diff by pulling the engine out on an obliging gum tree, using a hand winch. It was on this trip that we floated Missy, a highly-modified 1966 little-wheel Moke across the Jardine River.

Another highlight was the trip to Darwin, when we caught the Ghan from Adelaide to Alice Springs (20 Hours) then drove straight up to Darwin and spent the next three weeks meandering back to Melbourne, via Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, Ayers Rock, part of the Gunbarrel Hwy and the southern edge of the Flinders Ranges. At Batchelor, near Litchfield NP, we again had to change a diff on a gum tree. We started after lunch and finished in time for dinner at the pub.

In 1994 I took the Moke on the Camp Quality Caper, from Windsor to Wagga Wagga via Lightning Ridge, as a support vehicle for Missy. This rally covered about 3,000 km in eight days, with a lay-day at Lightning Ridge. I had competed in the Caper the previous year in a mechanically-standard 998cc Moke and finished second outright. In 1995, 97, 98 and 99 I was the official photographer for the Caper, doing 97 and 98, Coffs Harbour (NSW) to Cowes (Vic) and Milawa (Vic) to Mudgee (NSW) in my Mini Van.

 

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