What do Brigitte Bardot, Paul McCartney, The Beach Boys and Princess Margaret have in common? They all loved a small utility vehicle called the Mini Moke. In fact, in the ’60s and ’70s, numerous celebrities could be spotted driving these iconic cars around the French Riviera and other resort areas worldwide. James Bond even drove Mini Mokes in You Only Live Twice, Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. (Of course, his other car was usually an Aston Martin, a Lotus or a Jaguar.)
After a few decades out of production, the legendary Mokes are back, now offered with electric engines and power steering. The new Moke looks identical to the original, but with its modern updates, options and safety features, it’s the perfect modern-day beach buggy (available with automatic or manual transmission).
Todd Rome, president and founder of private jet firm Blue Star Jets, has acquired the rights to produce Mokes for the USA and has already seen excellent sales. “As I travel abroad, I see the Moke in St. Tropez, St. Barth’s, Monte Carlo and throughout the Caribbean,” says Rome. “I’ve always loved these cars and rent them whenever I can. But for me, the best part of this project is creating an American-built vehicle: we’re assembling in North Carolina and most of the parts are made in the USA.”
Because the Moke is classified as an electric low-speed vehicle (LSV) with speeds up to 35 MPH, it’s not allowed on highways, but it’s perfect for driving around town or through the many gated communities popping up around the world. Says Rome, “For people who love these cool cars, it’s about the history, the memories of film and rock stars cruising the Riviera. Mini Mokes became famous as low-maintenance, fun cars to drive, especially in warm weather climates. And with the color schemes we now offer, the Moke is also a bit of a fashion statement.”