Moke enthusiast Young had just finished rebuilding one of the cars from scratch when Moke International asked for his help to bring the cult car back on the market.
The original Moke was discontinued in 1993, but more recent advances in technology meant the designers couldn't simply replicate the vehicle. "Times have changed and the car needed enhancements, improved road holding, breaking, suspension and so on," said Young.
"I was equally aware that I had to respect the past and make sure the overall visual aspect was kept intact," he added.
Moke International now plans to produce 1000 units each year, with the first cars set to roll out by the middle of 2013.
We've featured a few stories about cars on Dezeen, including a movie we filmed about the clay modeller who works for car manufacturer Jaguar turning sketches into 3D designs.
Here's some more information from Moke:
It has been over 20 years since the last Moke rolled off the assembly line in Portugal. The world has changed dramatically over this time. The internet was born, Generation Y has grown up, countries have risen and fallen, wars have been won and lost. It is time again for the Moke to bring smiles to thousands of people who have yet to experience the fun of driving the Moke. Throughout the '70s and '80s it was considered the car for the stress-free lifestyle, with the attitude of no doors, no roof, no worries!
Moke International has come together with Chery Motors and their subsidiary Sicar Engineering to bring the Moke back to the 21st century with improved engineering and reliability. Chery Motors is the seventh largest China based auto manufacturer and produced over 600,000 units last year as well as being China’s top auto exporter. Chery Motors recently signed a joint venture with Jaguar Land Rover to manufacture their cars in China.
Moke International will initially introduce the Moke under a low volume car scheme, only producing one thousand (1000) units per year. There are several markets that Moke International will be targeting for the launch and one of the areas is Australia. Australia manufactured the Moke throughout the '70s and early '80s and has had a serious love affair with the car ever since. Almost everyone in Australia has memories of driving a Moke on their holidays or have grown up with a Moke in their family. It’s a car that is recognised around the world and has no others in its class.
Moke International is a company that is passionate about all things Moke and has the best interest of true Moke Enthusiasts as well as future Moke lovers at heart. It is for this reason Michael Young has been brought on board to head the design team at Moke International. Young was an obvious choice as there are few leading designers with the correct visual aesthetic to match the spirit of the car but more than this Young has been a Moke owner himself for several years and has a true understanding of the cars real needs and dynamics.
“As a Moke enthusiast when the email came asking if I was interested to talk about the project it was more like a call for duty. I had recently rebuilt a Moke from the ground up out of old parts so I was fully aware of what was needed to be done. You must remember that this car is from the '70s, I knew for a fact there was no way we could just replicate it, times have changed and the car needed enhancements, improved road holding, breaking, suspension and so on. I was equally aware that I had to respect the past and make sure the over all visual aspect be kept in tact. Lets say this is the first version, it was essential for find a balance in equal terms for the old enthusiast and also the new generation.
It was with great fanfare and anticipation that the first test car was unveiled. “We all worked very hard to get to this point,” said Luo Jun, president of Sicar Engineering. "This project is very exciting for us as we are keeping the Moke spirit alive." Sicar Engineering, subsidiary of Chery Motors, has been working nonstop on the project since April 2012. The Moke will keep its fun factor but will be engineered for the 21st century. It will have a fuel-injected engine that will be available in automatic or manual transmission.
For the next several months, the mule car will be put through many tests to measure performance and reliability. The engine, suspension, steering and brake systems are all well proven components with other Chery automobiles. We expect to see the first Mokes rolling out by mid 2013. Plans are already underway for the new Eco Moke. ‘We are already making plans for the Electric version which is an obvious step forward for the Moke, and who knows as the market grows anything is possible - I certainly have the ideas and dreams at hand for the next generation and putting a bit more fun into the art of motoring,” says Young.