The day Norman Wisdom tested for BMC

General Chat with an emphasis on BMC Minis & Other iconic cars of the 1960's. Includes information on MK1 Action days.
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mab01uk
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The day Norman Wisdom tested for BMC

Post by mab01uk »

The winter of 1962/63 was cold and bitter, and in the snow outside Longbridge on 7 January 1963, Alec Issigonis and Charles Griffin demonstrated the prototype twin-engined Mini Moke to the media. Even Norman Wisdom, who was appearing in pantomime in Birmingham, was in attendance.’
https://www.aronline.co.uk/opinion/the- ... d-for-bmc/

Image
Norman Wisdom seated alongside Charles Griffin, who was then Chief Engineer, Cars at BMC, outside the Kremlin in Longbridge on one very snowy day.


The Times, 8 January 1963
"A twin-engined 1696cc version of the BMC Mini-Car has been produced experimentally at the BMC works here by Mr Alec Issigonis, technical director, and Mr George Harriman, chairman of BMC.
Together they have been working on special versions of the vehicle for nine months, with the idea of conquering arctic driving conditions and last Thursday it passed its final proving runs. The vehicle-known as the twin-engined Moke 4×4-is powered by two 848cc Mini engines fitted front and rear and driving each pair of wheels which use the normal independent rubber suspension. The car with an open body, has interconnected throttles and clutch controls. But there are two rear levers mounted on either side of the driver so that with the front engine in use the rear engine and drive can be brought in when required."
More here on AROnline:
http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/archive ... ago-today/

This Moke's No Ass (British Pathe 1963)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGs_RDx42EA

Birmingham, West Midlands.
"M/S men looking at the forward engine of the Moke. They walk to the back of the car to look at the rear engine. Various shots as they look at the engines. Various shots as they walk round and try the gear levers. M/S as designer Alec Issigonis gets into the car. C/U of the snow plough attachment on the front. C/U Issigonis as he pulls away with Jack Daniels. M/S's car travelling through heavy snow throwing it up in sprays. M/S's as car goes past camera throwing snow up into lens. M/S car going away from camera. Various shots as the car speeds along throwing snow up into the air."

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mk1
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Re: The day Norman Wisdom tested for BMC

Post by mk1 »

Anyone remember the 4x4 Moke bodyshell that was advertised on ebay about 10 years ago?
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Bodge
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Re: The day Norman Wisdom tested for BMC

Post by Bodge »

As far as I remember, the only Twinni Moke that has been offered on eBay was this one with registration GHU 449B in around 2004. It had aparently been donated by BMC to a local carnival club and used in local carnivals.

It was sold by Barnhill Minis based in South Wales to a buyer in America. However it was more of an unfinished project (without the rear engine) than just a bodyshell.
Twinni 1.JPG
Twinni 2.JPG
Rumour has it that up to 10 Twinni Moke bodyshells were stored at a disused aircraft hanger at Honeybourne in Worcestershire at the end of the 1960s. During a sale of old experimental vehicles following the Leyland / BMC merger, at least one was sold and had was given registration VHA 913H before it was shipped to NZ when the owner emigrated.

There have been suggestions that one or two others may have been purchased by a collector and may be in storage somewhere awaiting discovery. Now that really would be interesting!
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iain1967s
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Re: The day Norman Wisdom tested for BMC

Post by iain1967s »

mk1 wrote:Anyone remember the 4x4 Moke bodyshell that was advertised on ebay about 10 years ago?
Was it the quadra 4x4 moke? Spider rebuilt the diff on that.
http://www.theminiforum.co.uk/forums/to ... onversion/

hanlminiman
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Re: The day Norman Wisdom tested for BMC

Post by hanlminiman »

I remember that winter very clearly as I spent Christmas 1962 at a relative's house whose back garden back garden backed on to the Chobham test track but he did not tell me what happened 3 years earlier! 1959 and all that.

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Spider
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Re: The day Norman Wisdom tested for BMC

Post by Spider »

iain1967s wrote:
mk1 wrote:Anyone remember the 4x4 Moke bodyshell that was advertised on ebay about 10 years ago?
Was it the quadra 4x4 moke? Spider rebuilt the diff on that.
http://www.theminiforum.co.uk/forums/to ... onversion/
Quadra is actually built in to a standard Moke Body Shell and can easily be converted back or transferred to another body.

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mk1
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Re: The day Norman Wisdom tested for BMC

Post by mk1 »

No it was one of the BMC prototypes as depicted in the images above. It was NOS painted in Spruce Green & in perfect condition. If I remember correctly "Bank Garage" had something to do with it. But as I say, it was a LONG time ago now.

I reckon the one Badge refers to could be the one I am thinking of, but I am sure "mine" was just a body shell.
Mark F
I'm a rather fat feathery Owl called sage.

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bill773mini
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Re: The day Norman Wisdom tested for BMC

Post by bill773mini »

mk1 wrote:No it was one of the BMC prototypes as depicted in the images above. It was NOS painted in Spruce Green & in perfect condition. If I remember correctly "Bank Garage" had something to do with it. But as I say, it was a LONG time ago now.

I reckon the one Badge refers to could be the one I am thinking of, but I am sure "mine" was just a body shell.
Yes Mark you are right there was just a shell, as you say I recall Bank Garages had a hand in exporting it to the US.

There were about 12 shells made and they were "sold" off in 68 (BL etc) to staff unofficially. Bob Hart bought a bare shell as he worked at Longbridge (he of the Queens Beach Car) which he built into a fully functioning car and then gave to his Son who lives in NZ.

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bill773mini
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Re: The day Norman Wisdom tested for BMC

Post by bill773mini »

Graham Robinson spent a huge amount of time trying to find out which Moke they used to build that first Twinni. Jack Daniels and John Sheppard both referred to it as "The workshop Moke" saying it was used in the work shops to get around and was just sitting there so they pulled it out and based it on that. We know they built up to 2 more 59 spec Mokes in late 1960 but they were never given to the MOD. It is very likely to be one of those. There is one missing 59 Moke which it could be, it was around late 62 they were finished being tested, was it one of those sent back to Longbridge? The other 5 were not sent to Longbridge, the MOD kept them which is why they survive.

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mk1
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Re: The day Norman Wisdom tested for BMC

Post by mk1 »

A very interesting tale.
Mark F
I'm a rather fat feathery Owl called sage.

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