The Caribbean's Coolest Car
Tooling around a resort in a golf cart is fun but hardly unusual; every other luxury hotel bigger than your back garden uses them to ferry guests around the property. But at Petit St. Vincent, a sophisticated but un-stuffy 115-acre private-island resort in the Grenadines, they go one better, transporting guests from the beach to their hillside cottages and back again in a fleet of spiffy Mini Mokes.
You used to see Mokes in the Caribbean (I have fond memories of my family renting one in Barbados when I was a child) but production of the iconic beach buggies, which started in England in the 1960s, has long halted. So riding around in one of PSV’s was a delightful surprise – made even more so when I found out that the resort actually manufactures the vehicles themselves!
General Manager Matthew Semark told me that they make the bodies from their own fiberglass mold and source the vintage 1,000cc and 1,3000cc engines directly from the UK. It takes about six months for the resort’s workshop to produce one of the open-top four seaters, which have manual transmissions and five-gallon tanks, and are serviced by PSV’s two ace Moke mechanics, Robert and Julian.
Apparently one guest was so besotted with the rugged off-roaders that she ordered one as a birthday present for her husband. Try as I might I couldn’t get Matthew to divulge the total cost for importing parts from England, manufacturing the car from scratch in a remote corner of the Caribbean, and then shipping it back to the UK. But suffice it to say that that was one generous wife – with one very happy husband.