History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Discussions relating to pre-production prototype Mokes.
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DutchMoke
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History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by DutchMoke » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:36

Hello all,

When trying to find information on pre-production Mokes, I found your forum. Great to see so many Moke enthusiasts in one place!
I am hoping for some collective feedback & expertise...

Tomorrow I wanted to check out the Moke advertised here (in The Netherlands):
http://link.marktplaats.nl/m821569166

It is said to be a 1962 - so, a pre-production - Moke. The RDW (Dutch equivalent of DVLA) confirms a foreign date of first registration of 30th October 1962 (with the Moke imported to The Netherlands in 2006).
The advertisement mentions the Moke coming from the Monaco Royal Yacht Harbour and privately driven by Princess Gracia.

I wanted to bring my own 1966 Mk1 Moke and check out differences & similarities.
First concerns are around the engine size (said to be 998cc, not 848 nor 948), chassis number (starting with an A, not SPL) and a couple of cosmetic anomalies (grab handles, rear window not split in two sections, jerrycan next to the spare wheel, etc).
Not sure of the wheel base - but will find out tomorrow when my own Moke is (hopefully) parked next to it.

What are your thoughts on this Pre-Production Moke? What do I need to check for? What wheel base should it have?
Is there any history of Princess Grace of Monaco owning/driving a Moke?

I look forward to your feedback & thoughts, also on what sort of price range would be reasonable for a Pre-Production Moke in this condition.

Kind regards,
Petra

DutchMoke
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Re: History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by DutchMoke » Tue Jul 22, 2014 19:26

Hi,

Just an update on the "Monaco Pre-Production Moke" - we went down to Hilversum to check out this Moke which is for sale.
I think I left with more question marks than I had, yesterday.

The Moke looks like a normal Moke:
Image

But it comes with a different badge and a different, larger, engine.
And of course, supposedly having been Princess Grace's Moke, it has a nice Monaco shield.
I do like the back bench it comes with, rather than the individual seats mine has.

DutchMoke
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Re: History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by DutchMoke » Tue Jul 22, 2014 19:32

The simple but effective glovebox is a real nice-to-have; I had never seen one before. Open, and closed. And it also sports a nifty lockable handbrake.

DutchMoke
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Re: History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by DutchMoke » Tue Jul 22, 2014 19:38

However, the first question mark came when we checked the chassis number, which is: AA 2S7L 282585 A (which can also be seen here). Isn't that supposed to be an Austin Saloon? The car is undeniably a Moke, obviously.

DutchMoke
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Re: History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by DutchMoke » Tue Jul 22, 2014 19:44

The second question mark, is the hydrolastic suspension system this Moke has. The Moke is said to be a '62 Pre-Production Moke. However, according to the Bonhams site, Moulton's own Moke was from 1964 and acquired by Moulton in 1966 in order to test his system on the Moke. So it's odd (but probably not impossible) to have a 1962 Pre-Production Moke with a hydrolastic suspension system - perhaps it was retro-fitted?

Having said that - the serial number on the Bonhams site does not necessarily reflect a Moke (B) body either, but a Van (V), so perhaps Austin wasn't always too consistent with its chassis numbers?

All in all, I find this Monaco Pre-Production Moke an intriguing Moke, and I look forward to your thoughts and findings.

PS apologies for the multiple posts; it appears I am not able or allowed to post more than three links in one posting (so had to cut things up)...

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59Prototype
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Re: History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by 59Prototype » Tue Jul 22, 2014 22:21

Petra, it's difficult to tell from the photos but it doesn't look like a prototype to me. In addition the points you have mentioned would indicate that it is not a prototype.

I'm always suspicious of this sort of thing when I see two badges that are clearly not original i.e. BMC - Moke and a John Cooper badge. Add in a set of reverse rim Cooper S wheels and you start to build up a picture! If the chassis number is available then that should be the easiest way to identify what it really is. As you say prototypes had SPL chassis numbers.

Do you think you could find out more about the chassis number?

Graham Robinson

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spider
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Re: History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by spider » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:16

It is on Hydro, which I do seem to recall that they did have a brief play around with at the factory, but never went anywhere. The hydro alone would place it at about late 63 or 64 (from memory). I think one of these Mini Mokes was up for grabs not too long ago.
Old Mokers never die, they just smell that way.

DutchMoke
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Re: History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by DutchMoke » Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:22

Thank you for your feedback, Graham and spider.

And apologies for the out-of-sync posts - I had posted my updates before you responded, but they were pending approval (the process for new members) and were approved only after you had posted your responses... Going forward, I believe this is resolved.

Graham: the dealership advised he had the original rims with the Moke as well; these Cooper rims were additional. He also advised the cooper signature was a sticker and could easily be taken off. He said the BMC MOKE logo was original and one of the features of the Pre-Production Moke.

The Moke has one windshield wiper (MK1) but it does not have the foot operated headlight switch (anymore?).
However, I still find the chassis number (AA 2S7L 282585 A) most intriguing, in that it belongs to a 1962 Austin Sedan - and not a Moke.
At our RDW (Dutch DVLA) site, I checked the registration plate again. My own '66 Austin Moke is clearly listed as an Austin Moke (first registered in NL in January '67). I checked the registration plates of two other Mokes, which were registered as an Austin Moke, and a Morris Mini Moke.
The Pre-Production Moke, however, is not listed as a Moke, but as an Austin 850!

Not wanting to be jumping to conclusions, I guess it still could be a Pre-Production Moke which (for whatever reason - Moke (B/Buckboard) identities not existing yet, at the time this one was presumably built?) got an Austin 850 identity, a larger 998 engine, all the nice add-ons like a rear bench seat, a glove box, a lockable handbrake, and was then given as a present to Princess Grace of Monaco. It also got the hydrolastic suspension retro-fitted when it became available for the Moke.
The other extreme of the possible story, could be that it was an ordinary Moke, which (for whatever reason) had to switch identities - lost its own (and with it, its history) and got an Austin 850 identity instead. As the Austin 850 was older than the Moke, it suddenly became a 1962 Moke - and the "Pre-Production" status/story that would come with it.

With this Moke being for sale now, I just hope the interested buyer will thoroughly investigate the story before spending EUR 19k on it - as it may not be worth the money... it looks to be in good condition and rust free, but it may not be as original and special as it is said to be (in my mind, anyway).

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spider
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Re: History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by spider » Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:52

DutchMoke wrote: The Pre-Production Moke, however, is not listed as a Moke, but as an Austin 850!

Sorry, just to clarify on this point, you mean this Moke that is for sale listed as an Austin 850?

DutchMoke wrote: It also got the hydrolastic suspension retro-fitted when it became available for the Moke.
Perhaps I should have clarified my earlier post better and also just to clear up this point, the factory did play around with the Hydro System during the development of it on a Mini Moke (as well as a few other vehicles including one of John Cooper's Fomula Junior Race cars).

In production or as far as any options available by the factory or dealerships, the Hydro system was never offered on the Mini Moke (or Moke for that matter), it may have been done for some very special one off orders though say in this case for the Monaco Royal Family, however the more I tend to think and feel about this one, while interesting, I am sorry to say I'm rather sceptical that it is a Pre-production car, Prototype or Special Order. I'd say looking at how the Hydro's been done that someone has subsequently retro-fitted it.

The body number - to me - is a big give away that the car is not as stated.

Quite happy, though to be wrong ;)
Old Mokers never die, they just smell that way.

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59Prototype
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Re: History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by 59Prototype » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:05

That solves it! I couldn't understand why all of a sudden more posts have now appeared prior to me posting something on this last night!

Petra you say:
The other extreme of the possible story, could be that it was an ordinary Moke, which (for whatever reason) had to switch identities - lost its own (and with it, its history) and got an Austin 850 identity instead. As the Austin 850 was older than the Moke, it suddenly became a 1962 Moke - and the "Pre-Production" status/story that would come with it.
My money would be on this as being the truth.

I also question the Princess Grace connection. Surely if she owned it there would be some documentary evidence that would go with the sale of the Moke? In addition you would think that somewhere out there on the internet there would be reference to Princess Grace owning a Moke and maybe a photo or two? After a bit of Googling I can find nothing. Yes, most of us have seen Princess Margaret being driven in a Moke but not Princess Grace. Unless we are all proved wrong, Buyer Beware!

Graham Robinson

DutchMoke
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Re: History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by DutchMoke » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:08

spider wrote:
DutchMoke wrote: The Pre-Production Moke, however, is not listed as a Moke, but as an Austin 850!
Sorry, just to clarify on this point, you mean this Moke that is for sale listed as an Austin 850?
The Moke is listed by the seller as a Pre-Production Moke, as per their advertisement.
However, if you check the car's registration at our RDW (which is the Dutch DVLA), the RDW lists it as an Austin 850. This means the paperwork with the car, will also list it as an Austin 850, not as a Moke.
This probably also explains the weight (listed as 600 kg on the Austin 850 registration) which is clearly heavier than the weight listed of the three genuine Mokes I checked (538 kg for the Morris Mini Moke, and 557 kg for the two Austin Mokes).

So I am with you - I find the story (of this car being a Pre-Production Moke) a dodgy one. And if the origin of the car is disputed (and I am with Graham here) - what to think of the presumed previous ownership of Princess Grace of Monaco...?
Having said that, I have not seen the paperwork or the history. I probably won't go back to find out (not being a sleuth ;-)) but I hope any interested party will thoroughly do this, before spending his/her money on this car, and who knows we get a positive ending to this story (although I doubt it).

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spider
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Re: History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by spider » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:30

59Prototype wrote: Unless we are all proved wrong, Buyer Beware!
Graham Robinson
With vehicle like these, YES.

I'm not 100% sure on this, however I do have some recollection, that Princess Grace had a Mini, but I also seem to recall that it came through one of the well known custom houses like Radfords.
Old Mokers never die, they just smell that way.

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59Prototype
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Re: History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by 59Prototype » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:13

It appears that Princess Grace did own a Mini as mentioned on this internet page:

http://www.autosavant.com/2008/12/03/th ... oint-five/

See the second paragraph of the article. However it doesn't say that it is a Moke, it simply says 'Mini'.

Maybe Paddy Hopkirk arriving in Monaco as the winner of the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964 prompted her to buy a Mini!

Graham

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Dean
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Re: History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by Dean » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:58

DutchMoke wrote: He said the BMC MOKE logo was original and one of the features of the Pre-Production Moke.

Well that bit is definitely wrong. The BMC Moke badge was an Australian Moke fitment only (fitted between 1969 and 1971).
Dean

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59Prototype
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Re: History on Monaco Royal Pre-Production Moke?

Post by 59Prototype » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:32

You know when the truth is finally out about this Moke its provenance will be proved beyond doubt in that it was originally owned by an 18 stone Scottish drag queen cum mechanic working under the name of Princess Grease!

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