The Moke has always been one of the most versatile vehicles for adaptation, having the modular design of the Mini combined with about the most basic chassis available.
Over time we have seen Mokes converted to fire engines, TV camera platforms, utes, tippers, postal vans, 4WD, for military use and much more.
The pictured Moke is possibly the first to be converted as a fully-equipped ambulance. However, this is not some recently restored relic from the past, but is a recent addition to a private ambulance fleet in Tasmania.
At first glance it might seem a bit farcical, but this Moke is both very well set out for functionality, and is ideally suited to its role as a first response unit at special events.
The Moke is owned by Tasmanian company Ambulance Private, and was bought to meet a need for outdoor events, where regular ambulances were either too large or were suffering from the conditions. “We found we were going into off-road and paddock environments, which were knocking the heck out of our normal ambulances”, company owner David Watson reveals. “The regular ambulances are incredibly important to us, because they are our day-to-day work, and they were coming back dirty or covered in grass. We had to spend time getting them clean enough to use for their normal work, and the drivers were complaining about the condition they were coming back in.”
“So we decided we needed something better, and we looked at a variety of vehicles. Then in a fit of stupidity one day I said, ‘why don’t we look at a Mini Moke?’. It was promptly laughed out of court, but that was then the challenge.”
David thought a Moke would be ideal for the event work, where high speeds were not required and a smaller vehicle would meet less resistance in moving through crowds. But it was equally important that the Moke be fully capable and set up for its role. It wasn’t to be a token gesture or something to be laughed at. If it was going to do the job, it had to be able to do it properly.
David started looking for the Moke in 2006, but soon found getting the right vehicle was not as easy as first expected. “The main criteria was that it had to be mechanically in good condition, and preferably a white one. After about 18 months of looking, all over Australia, we gave it up as a bad joke. I said, ‘why don’t we get anything we can and just build it up?’ Within a week of deciding that I found a white one in Tasmania, about 4km from here, that was perfect. It really needed virtually nothing done to it, from a mechanical point of view.”
If you would like to read the rest of this story, order your copy of Issue 23 of The Mini Experience. <plumshop>39</plumshop> <plumshop>40</plumshop>