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Classic Moke returns

Surviving examples of the classic Leyland Moke may be worth serious money these days, but a new Australian firm is offering a brand new recreation of the model without the perils associated with 1960s British engineering.

Moke Motors Australia has teamed up with Chinese manufacturer Chery to build an all-new but visually reminiscent version of the military-inspired but much adored original Leyland Moke.

The new version pairs classic utilitarian ragtop styling with modern Chery mechanicals, and is slightly longer and slightly wider than the original to better accommodate four adults.

These mechanicals include a 50kW/93Nm fuel-injected 993cc four-cylinder petrol engine and a five-speed manual or optional automatic sourced from the Chinese-market Chery QQ3 city car.

The front-drive layout uses MacPherson strut suspension up front and solid-axle trailing arms at the rear, along with power steering and disk brakes up front.

An electric eMoke version is also planned, with a top speed of 60km/h, range of 120km, and the ability to be recharge overnight.

There are no airbags, ABS or stability control, so you may be wondering how a modern Moke would pass 2014 safety regulations? It doesn’t, but bypasses most ADRs through limited volume compliance – only 100 examples of each version can be registered per year.

The modern Moke is able to be fully-registered for use on Australian roads and carries a two year/50,000km driveline warranty and five year corrosion guarantee. 

The man behind Moke Motors is Jim Markos, operator of Melbourne prestige used car dealership Black Rock Motors, and a 27 year veteran of the automotive industry.

Markos claims that the arrangement between Moke Motors and Chery is the first time that a mainstream car manufacturer has produced vehicles under contract from a private company, and is the result of a seven year development program.

He also plans to sell the new Moke in the Caribbean, Thailand and Mauritius, and has received interest from Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. 

Moke Motors is yet to appoint service agents for the new models, but discussions are underway to use the local Chery service network.

Production is set to commence at the start of May, but the entire 2014 production run has already been presold. The first examples are set to be delivered in June and Moke Motors is taking orders for 2015.

Pricing starts at a Mazda 3 Maxx-matching $22,990 before on-roads, but we reckon more than a few will be cruising the beach esplanades next summer.

This reporter is on Twitter: @Mal_Flynn