Citroen builds a Mini Moke using the e-Mehari EV

We should have more cars like this? A plastic interior that can be hosed out for the sand in the middle of the Aussie summer.

Sacre-bleu! The French have put together their own version of a modern-day Mini Moke.

Like the original beach-going car invented by the British in 1960s — and adopted by Australians for two decades — the Citroen e-Mehari has no doors and a removable fabric top to make the most of the summer season.

With plastic seats and floors, the interior can also be hosed clean to get beach sand out.

Thanks to its high-riding suspension the French Citroen can scramble over dirt tracks to access surf beaches.

And, as with the original, this today moke buggy also has no airbags.

However, there is one main difference between the old and new sun-loving mini moke machines — aside from the high price, €25,000 or $AUD38,000.

Sadly, the Citroen e-Mehari is not scheduled to be in Australian showrooms anytime soon.

The Citroen e-Mehari is electric-powered only and has a driving range of just 200km and you have to allow 13 hours to recharge from empty.

The original Mini Moke, made in Australia from 1966 to 1981 (and manufactured internationally from 1964 to 1993), was powered by a range of tiny four-cylinder petrol engines duplicated from the Mini Cooper classic mini car.

It ran on the smell of on oily rag because the tin body, plastic seats, and fabric roof weighed almost nothing.

The Mini Moke was a favorite among beach-goers not only because it was cheap to run and easy to clean, the galvanised body made it resistant to rust.At least in some of the Mini Moke range of cars.

Sadly, the Citroen e-Mehari won’t be in Australian showrooms anytime in the near future as it is made solely in left-hand-drive for Europe, where it went on sale by the end of 2016.

That leaves collectors to ponder the future of the classic Mini Mokes.

Immaculate examples are now being advertised for in excess of $25,000 — more than the price of a new Toyota Corolla. They only cost around $3000 brand new in the 1970s.

Rhonda Flynn, the president of the Moke Owners Association of Victoria, has owned her Moke since 1982 and says she will never part with it.

“It’s on its third engine and its second body but I just love it,” she said. “I’ve driven it around Tasmania, up to NSW, there’s nothing like a Mini Moke.”

If the Moke were released today it wouldn’t pass minimum safety standards because it has no airbags, anti-skid brakes or seatbelt pretensioners.

But enthusiasts are keeping the memory of the Moke alive & growing.

The National Moke Muster will celebrate the 50th anniversary of this moke motoring icon on Easter Saturday in Shepparton Victoria. More than 150 cars are expected to be on show to the public.

Would you buy an electric, modern day Moke if it came to Australia?

Henry Sapiecha

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