Of all the bodystyles that Minis have worn over the years – and there have been a lot of them – few have attained the kind of cult status as the Moke. A sort of quirky take on the beach buggy, the Mini Moke was marketed by various concerns until 1993, the year before BMW bought the brand and later relaunched production with its neo-retro design.
When the 2011 Countryman goes on sale later this year, it will be the largest offering from Mini, boasting four doors, raised ground clearance and all-wheel drive. And while the Countryman proves that Mini isn't so, well, mini anymore, Auto Express is stirring the rumormill by reporting that the automaker is working on an even larger version of the Countryman, complete with a longer wheelbase that will accommodate a third row of seats out back.
According to the know-it-alls (in a good way, naturally) at MotoringFile, America's second-smallest brand plans to debut a new R60 Countryman-based soft-roader called the Mini Moke at the Detroit Auto Show next month. What's more, if public reaction is favorable enough, the Moke could be in production by 2012.
Could it be true? Could there be an as-yet-unheard-of MINI variant added to the pile? Spy pics of some yellow beastly thing wearing a MINI front and rear have a few folks wondering if MINI might make a Moke. The original MINI Moke from the sixties was an offroad vehicle that Alec Issigonis was trying to sell to the military. We doubt BMW would have any such aims for a Moke revival, but at the very least it could be a much more capable four-wheeler than the Crossman/Monte looks like it's going to
When the new Mini was introduced by BMW a few years ago, there were quite a few that thought it should deliver better fuel economy for its size. Really, they were right, the fuel mileage was not really anything to write home about, as other cars in its class, size-wise, did better. But sales hardly seem to have been affected, as buyers flocked to the retro design in droves. My wife is quite an admirer of the little cars, as a matter of fact.