Lot 311 (A|B|C Live Auction Online, 24th June 2020)
Sold for £13,500
(including buyers premium)
Registration No: JMM699B
Chassis No: MAB1636877
Motor Car Location: Tanworth-in-Arden
Supplied new to the cinematographer and studio owner Keith Ewart, ‘JMM 699B’ was one of two Mokes he bought at the same time to run around his Cornish estate. A pioneer in the making of European television commercials, Ewart shot campaigns for the likes of Camay, Maxwell House, Fairy Liquid and Benson & Hedges. Having begun his career as an acclaimed stills photographer with Vogue and Harper’s etc, he had a legendary eye for detail. Making the jump to TV in 1954, Ewart later employed a young Ridley Scott as his art director and would, according to another of his proteges Howard Grey, ‘think nothing of doing 40 or 50 takes of a two-second scene of an actress putting on face cream or choosing a chocolate’ such was his desire for perfection.
The Mokes did not escape Ewart’s attention with ‘JMM 699B’ being repainted from Green to Blue and uprated with a pair of period bucket seats (presumably so it could be driven with more gusto on the unmade roads of his Estate). A keen ornithologist with a particular passion for parrots, Ewart succumbed to a brain tumour in July 1989. However, his widow would not part with the characterful Morris for another twenty-six years. Pleasingly understood to retain its original 850cc engine and somewhat weather beaten hood, ‘JMM 699B’ has never undergone a full restoration. Indeed, aside from upgrading the ignition system, the vendor has enjoyed using the Moke ‘as is’ (the original ignition parts have been kept for posterity).
The Keith Ewart Charitable Trust remains committed to the preservation and conservation of wildlife, while his trusty Moke is now ready to acquire what will only be its third registered keeper! A highly original, low owner example with a fascinating backstory.
The utilitarian Moke (slang for Donkey) was conceived as a light military vehicle and, codenamed The Buckboard, was tested by all three branches of the armed forces. However, its relatively low ground clearance ruled it out of most combat situations and its forte was as a beach buggy in such popular holiday destinations as the Seychelles and the Caribbean. Some 50,000 examples were manufactured all told - UK production ran from 1964 to 1968, while they were also built in Australia, Portugal and Italy. The monocoque shell comprised a pair of box-section pontoons connected by the floorpan and firewall. Engine, gearbox, suspension etc were standard Mini components, making for economical service and repair. Most of the 14,518 British Mokes incorporated Mini MK1 running gear but the later ones (1967-68) utilised MK2 parts. However, of the 5,422 Austin and 9,096 Morris versions made a mere ten percent or so were 'home market' supplied.