Which prototype Moke is this?

Discussions relating to pre-production prototype Mokes.
Nigel(no top)Sykes
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Re: Which prototype Moke is this?

Post by Nigel(no top)Sykes » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:12

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4XMOKE
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Re: Which prototype Moke is this?

Post by 4XMOKE » Thu Aug 08, 2013 13:39

Graham, good to see you've been digging again!
My opinion, based on what I've researched with the Ants, and a taste of how things seemed to work in BMC at that time, and how rumours and tales develop over the years and how to pick truth from the cow excreta.
This is earlier than 14BT18/USU 168 and that series of vehicles. By the time they got to yours it had a more defined flow to the design, a more moke like shape.
This looks like what was required from the moke in the first instance, light weight, absolutely no frills basic transport platform, easily man handled, air drop capabilities, all very low profile.
This has got to be THE FIRST MOKE (pending a picture coming forth of two subframes and a fuel tank bolted together!)
It's clearly in a very early stage of development, only the basic elements are there, not much in the way of specially made componentry, just what ever came to hand more or less.
As for it becoming the twinni, no way! The twinni trials were after your series of prototypes and the short wheel base ones. I'd say someone has their wires crossed up as to which the first moke was, and what was used to make the twinni. It may well have been that the first moke from a particular series of prototypes was used to develop the twinni, but you're correct in your assumption that they wouldn't pick that vehicle apart to make the body so very different and then change it all again to become a twinni. They did some daft things at Longbridge, but not that daft!

Roger
My other car is a Moke......
My other Moke is an Ant....

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Tim
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Re: Which prototype Moke is this?

Post by Tim » Thu Aug 08, 2013 23:42

I've asked the early Mini people for their opinion. Hopefully they can make some educated guesses.

http://specialistminiforums.yuku.com/to ... very-early

edit: Bill Bell from the '59 Mini register suggests that the report number 658 is a date code, June 1958. He has offered to pass them on to John Sheppard (one of the the last surviving members of Issigonis' team) to see if he has any recollections of it. Perhaps the pictures will jog his memory.

Graham, is there any possibility of getting a better look at the plate visible on the firewall ?

Tim
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bill773mini
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Re: Which prototype Moke is this?

Post by bill773mini » Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:23

Hello all

As Tim says I'm sure that the document has the date code at the top right hand side. All of our saloon research has been dated in this way so I can't see why the Moke would be any different?

I will print off the photographs and send them to John, he was the head draftsman under Issigonis and did all the main drawings for all ADO 15 work.

Kind Regards

Bill

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59Prototype
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Re: Which prototype Moke is this?

Post by 59Prototype » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:51

Hello All

Having done some more research on this question of what Moke it is I am now very much inclined to agree with Roger that it is the very first Moke. It has a certain crudeness to it that ties in with it being the first attempt at building this type of utility vehicle. My guess, and it is only a guess, is that it was made very late 1958 or very early 1959. I also agree with Roger that I just can't see it being the donor for the first Twini Moke.

I too had wondered about the document's number being a date code i.e 658, but 1958 is just too early for FVRDE to have had the vehicle to test. In any case, and this is what I still find confusing, the FVRDE report appears to be made up under two sections, one dated 3/11/60 and the other 25/4/61. In other words if we stick with it being the first Moke why would they be still testing it 2 years after it was made? By that time most of the other 1959 prototypes had passed through their hands at Chertsey so why should the report feature such an early version? There is one explanation that perhaps you would like to consider. I wonder if the report (which came from the National Archives by the way) was a general report on the Mokes that they had at FVRDE on test BUT the photos they used to illustrate the Moke happened to be this one with the strange bonnet?

Bill, I'm delighted to learn that John Sheppard is still with us but by now he must be quite elderly. If he can see the photos I am sure that once and for all he can confirm or otherwise if this is the first Moke or not. He might also be able to throw some light on which Moke was the donor for the Twini? Incidentally is John Wagstaffe, the experimental workshop foreman still around? He had retired to the Torbay area I seem to recall.

In talking of John Sheppard who was a key member of the development team at Longbridge, I am proud to say that I got to know Jack Daniels quite well after he retired down to the Bournemouth area. He was always unassuming but a great supporter of any Mini and Morris Minor events that were being held locally. I took Jack to Chichester for the funeral of John Cooper, which must have been early January 2001. Although a sad occasion it was thoroughly enjoyable to have Jack sat alongside me for a total of about 4 hours. What was particularly enjoyable was the fact that we didn't just talk cars. We spoke about many things including Jack's early years before he became involved with the motor industry. As I say, a sad time because we were going to a funeral but that journey there and back is still very memorable. About 2 or 3 years before he died I went to see Jack in Bournemouth Hospital where he was being treated for gall stones I think it was. In chatting away he told me something that I will never forget. In his quiet way he said that earlier that day he had looked out of his hospital window at all the cars parked in the car park. He went on to say 'You know the great majority of those cars have front wheel drive. It occured to me that I had a fair bit to do with that.' I looked at him and his eyes were moist. He needed to say no more. The point had been made. My apologies for moving away from the Moke photo question but I thought you might be interested to read this about Jack.

Going back to the photo, Tim you ask if the chassis plate on the firewall is readable? I was ahead of you. Regretfully not. I've tried blowing the photo up but there is just not enough definition to read anything.


Graham

bill773mini
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Re: Which prototype Moke is this?

Post by bill773mini » Fri Aug 09, 2013 14:12

Hi Graham,

You say,
I too had wondered about the document's number being a date code i.e 658, but 1958 is just too early for FVRDE to have had the vehicle to test
Do you know when they had them? As this is not a BMC document it's may be a little naive to assume that their codes would be similar to BMC's I guess. I'll ask John if he knows. I do think you'll be proved right about the general dates for the report rather than it being a specific report about this particular Moke.
Bill, I'm delighted to learn that John Sheppard is still with us but by now he must be quite elderly.
John is indeed getting on a little these days and was 91 in February. He was one of our guests at Gaydon BMC show on 7th July. I know Roger (4xmoke) spent an awful lot of time talking to John about ANT's and get a lot of answers to his questions. John is still very sharp, if he doesn't know or doesn't remembers he quick to tell you he doesn't know. But considering this was all over 50 years ago and in John's own words "I was just doing my job, it was nothing special or out of the ordinary" it is remarkable he remembers anything at all. I struggle to remember last week! :?

Image

John is in the centre deep in conversation with one of our members who had flown in from Sweden just to meet him. Top right is Bob Robbins who was Johns junior draftsman up until 62. He also might know something. Bob remembers driving the van fronted prototype saloons around the longbridge site.

I don't know about John Wagstaffe sorry but I will find out. Doug Adams is still around but is sadly suffering very badly with Alzheimer’s. We were hoping to have him at Gaydon too but he was too ill.

Great stories about Jack D, you are truly lucky to say you knew him, I never had the pleasure of meeting him. So many questions he could have answered we'll never get the opportunity to ask.

Bill

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59Prototype
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Re: Which prototype Moke is this?

Post by 59Prototype » Sun Aug 11, 2013 14:12

Not a great deal to report but I'm posting this just to keep you all on your toes!

Roy Scott too has an interest in the prototype Mokes and I have now been working with him for a couple of months ferreting out snippets of information such as you have seen here on this thread. As you know the photos I originally posted came from the National Archives and are of a slightly strange looking Moke. As time goes on I am more and more convinced that this was the very first Moke knocked together in the experimental workshop at Longbridge with limited tooling. My guess is that it was made in early 1959 or even late 1958 and it is from this one that the run of more familiar prototypes were made later in 1959. Does anyone wish to agree or disagree with me on this point?

As for it being the donor Moke for the original Twini I still have my doubts. As Roger has said they did some daft things at Longbridge but would they have pulled apart this Moke just to make it look like the later ones? Maybe one day we will get to know the answer.

In answer to Bill's question about the date of the document there are a couple of summaries as part of the whole report, one is dated 3rd November 1960 the other 25th April 1961. Having said what I have about it being the first Moke what doesn't quite add up is why should FVRDE be issuing a report on the vehicle over 2 years after it was made? Surely by then other more up to date Mokes would have passed through FVRDE hands? Any ideas?

Graham

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Re: Which prototype Moke is this?

Post by 4XMOKE » Sat Aug 31, 2013 21:16

Keep going Graham, the truth is out there!
Any research on this level is difficult enough with BMC but FVRDE it's another matter entirely!
Bear in mind that in those days reports were typed up by a clerk from hand written notes by who ever was conducting the testing, errors abound.......
Also is this report actually on this vehicle? I see appendix D written on it. Is this the end of a report on a later vehicle referring back to a previous version in an appendix? Hence the date later than we would presume for the age of the vehicle.
I'm still of the thought that this is '58 built. It would be much easier and quicker to throw this together than build a mini, I understand the two projects to have moved forward together but this would easily outpace the other team building the first mini shells. By default they would have got mobile first. And they were keen to get it in front of the military.
Throwing stones to make ripples, but you have to argue a lot of points to see the way forward.
Hoping to get the Ants recognised and included into the Moke club, a point for the AGM it seems.
All the best
Roger
My other car is a Moke......
My other Moke is an Ant....

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Tim
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Re: Which prototype Moke is this?

Post by Tim » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:58

Jeez I'm dumb. I usually have a good memory for this stuff. I was just flicking through The Jon Pressnell book "Mini: The definitive History" looking for pictures of prototype mokes and noticed that there are two pictures of this Moke in there (the same two that are on the second page of the report). If anything they are better reproduced in the book.

There is also some text discussing it. It was the very first Moke, drawn up around Christmas 1958 by John Sheppard and built soon after.

I must be getting old.
Tim
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59Prototype
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Re: Which prototype Moke is this?

Post by 59Prototype » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:10

Roger and Tim

You both make some good points and I think it is now pretty much agreed that the photos of the Moke that started this thread off are of the very first Moke. If it was designed in December 1958 and built in January 1959 as I now think it was I wonder how much of it by way of mechanical parts, as opposed to the main tub, they had to make? I would imagine a fair amount. As 1959 went on and they started to build the Mini saloons (May '59??) much more would have been available to them by way of Mini parts in the experimental workshop.

In discussion with Roy Scott we both need a fair amount of convincing that it was this Moke that became the donor for the Twini Moke which was demonstrated to the press in the snows of January 1963. Roger, I think that you have alluded to this point previously. Both Roy and I are currently working on this to try and establish for certain if it was or wasn't the donor vehicle. The problem then is if it wasn't the donor Moke which one was?!!

Roger's point about Appendix D is another good question. If the Moke was being tested at FVRDE why were they producing a report over 2 years after the Moke was built. Official wheels turn slowly at times (you like the pun?!!) but surely it was virtually an obsolete vehicle by the time they produced the report and in any case many of the later 1959 prototypes had passed through their hands at FVRDE so they had newer versions to test anyway? I'm puzzled and the rest of you reading this probably are too. Do we have an FVRDE expert out there who can help?



Graham

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Re: Which prototype Moke is this?

Post by 4XMOKE » Thu Nov 14, 2013 13:08

Graham,
The production Mini body shells may have been a few months off at this point, but don't forget, the Orange box had been out there with front and rear subframes, it was only the (relatively) minor tweak to turn the engine around that stood in the way of getting the first Moke moving. The engine was proven, the gearbox was proven. I don't think they had to make too much at all looking at that Moke body! It was certainly a much simpler build than a production Mini, and therefore quicker to put together. Looks like the Moke beat the Mini onto the tarmac by several months!

Roger
My other car is a Moke......
My other Moke is an Ant....

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spider
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Re: Which prototype Moke is this?

Post by spider » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:04

Certainly a very interesting discussion there guys for sure.

I don't have anything concrete to add.

I will comment though that the body on this Moke does appear to be extremely crude / simple in pressing and construction and very much gives me an impression that it was cobbled together with very minimal tooling (not much more than a panbrake!) to try a concept / idea.

Clearly there are some considerable mini parts in it, like the subframes and speedo binnacle.

The body on this one is just so different to any published pics of any of the twini's that I'd be fairly confident that this one was not used to make any twini - that we are aware of.
Old Mokers never die, they just smell that way.

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