Remember those fun little Jeep-like MOKE cars from their 1960s heyday? Just a few months after closing a $55 million financing dealMOKE International is bringing them back to the US for the first time in decades with their new California model MOKE.

MOKE The Californian returns to the US

Some of our readers may remember that Mokes were British Jeep-like vehicles first built in the 1960s.

They became popular in much of Europe before spreading to cities in Asia and North America, helped by the many celebrities who chose the pleasure cars in the 60s and 70s.

Official numbers are hard to come by, but it’s likely that around 50,000 cars were produced by various manufacturers over the years, helping to create a cult following for the fun little open-top subcompact.

Decades before the Jeep Wrangler dominated coastal towns as a beach car, Mokes were all the rage.

A few decades later in the UK MOKE International now reports that they are returning to the United States with an improved and more powerful all-electric MOKE Californian. The move comes nearly 40 years since the last original version was sold in the US.

According to the company, MOKE International’s all-electric MOKE Californian will be the only US highway-legal Moke and “the first authentic version of the original Mini Moke in the country to go on sale since 1982,” according to the company.

The original Moke Californian sold in the US in the 1970s and 1980s came with a 1275cc internal combustion engine. Decades later, the new Californian MOKE International is an all-electric car with a 33kW electric motor replacing the old petrol engine. In fact, while MOKE International did produce ICE-powered versions, the brand has since gone all-electric.

The new MOKE Californian has a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph) and a 0-55 km/h (0-34 mph) acceleration time of 4.3 seconds. It has a lithium-ion battery with enough capacity for a claimed range of 120 km (74.5 miles) based on the WLTP testing protocol. Or, as MOKE puts it, “enough to drive Route 101 to Malibu Beach from Santa Barbara.”

The cars are designed with full lighting, retro-style needles on the dashboard, four seats with three-point seat belts (adjustable front seats and rear bench seats), waterproof speakers, waterproof upholstery and a Bimini roof. Owners can also upgrade to a full canopy with doors.

Manufacturer MOKE International is the owner of the original 1964 Moke trademark as well as over 100 other Moke trademarks. In Europe, the company is widely recognized as a direct descendant of the original manufacturer of the legendary Mini Moke car.

Perhaps some of my readers remember that we considered another Moke manufacturer, MOKE America, earlier this summer. This company also makes Moke-style cars, although MOKE International claims that MOKE America does not own the trademark and is therefore engaged in a protracted legal battle with the American company.

Earlier this year, a MOKE International representative explained Electrician that “MOKE America is not legally allowed to use the MOKE name, they are in violation of the trademark.”

MOKE International said the following in a legal statement:

MOKE International (MIL) owns the original MOKE European trademark from 1964 and about 100 others worldwide, including the US brand after its sale to ACG Inc in 2016. In 2020, the Trademark Trial and Appellate Board (TTAB) dismissed an opposition to “Moke America” ​​by MOKE International and its then-JV partner MOKE USA, re-registering the trademark. Although “Moke America” ​​appealed, in our latest lawsuit we claim that they copied our designs and that their cars do not comply with US motor vehicle laws. The court case will be heard in January 2023.

mok is a Californian

We don’t have any information yet on exactly when the MOKE Californian will be available in the US or what it will cost, but MOKE International tells us that those details will be available in a few weeks.

In comparison, the manufacturer currently sells its cars in the UK for £29,150 (approximately US$32,860).

Do you see yourself on the beach in a MOKE Californian? Let us know in the comments section below!

And just for fun, here’s an old photo Electrician publisher Seth Weintraub with a vintage Moke variant that he went to Macau. Without the left-hand manual 4-speed transmission, the new all-electric MOKE Californian should be a lot easier (and quieter) to drive.

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