Nobody wondered how Wordsworth kept himself warm after wandering around lonely as a cloud, did they?

Nobody wondered how Wordsworth kept himself warm after wandering around lonely as a cloud, did they?

by Danielle Thompson (September 2020)

WILLIAM Wordsworth, were he scrawling socially distanced sonnets in 2020, would almost certainly have wifi and gas central heating wired in at Dove Cottage.  

Nobody wondered how Britain’s favourite poet kept himself warm after wandering lonely as a cloud, did they? It’s background detail.

So I reckon, by the same token, it’s entirely fair that the latest reincarnation of a Sixties icon isn’t entirely hot on historical accuracy. 

The Moke – and it is only a Moke, with no references to any other small cars of the Sixties, for any BMW-bankrolled lawyers who might be reading – is supposed to be the direct descendant of the 1964 original, which was intended to be a lightweight military vehicle but ended up being better known as the weird taxis in The Prisoner.

Only this one’s not to scale. To make it 2020-friendly, its makers have made it a teeny bit bigger. 

It’s also no longer powered by a leaky old A-series engine – it’s now powered by a fuel-injected 1.4-litre engine, hooked up to a four-speed automatic. You also don’t have to look terribly hard to find it doesn’t share much of the old Mini’s innards, either; where fans of the original Moke would have been bouncing along on rubber cone suspension, the new one’s kitted out with coil springs.

The steering’s now power-assisted and the windscreen’s heated.

Just about the only concession it doesn’t make to modernity is that it doesn’t come equipped with ABS. 

It also costs a not terribly Sixties-esque £20,000, and that’s before taxes, so your reimagined Moke is going to cost roughly the same as a brand new Focus.

Yet I reckon its makers will sell plenty of them, and to people who care not one jot that it’s exactly hot on the period details. I’ll bet loads of you have listened to Rubber Soul or Pet Sounds at some point over the last few months, but did you make sure was authentically Sixties by sampling it on vinyl? Of course you didn’t – you streamed it, clicked the relevant MP3 file or – if you’re a really old fart – dug out a CD.

It’s still Sixties nostalgia, but the medium doesn’t make a jot of difference. 

It’s the same with the Moke, which is sufficiently true to the original’s pared-down outlook that 99 per cent of people either won’t know or won’t care that it’s been made easier to live with on today’s roads.

That’s without even mentioning the single most important detail for anyone who wants to throw caution to the wind, cancel their deposit on that Ford Focus, and buy a Sixties throwback with no roof, no doors and no carpets. And then use it in Britain.   The seats are waterproof... 

David Simister is the editor of Classic Car Weekly

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