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The OKA project began in the mid '80s, when Mike Walker decided to build a vehicle for the mining and defence forces from scratch, in his home town of Perth, Western Australia. Design of the first prototype was begun in 1985, and that vehicle was on the road on December 17th of the following year - Walker's birthday. Testing and development began in 1987, lasting for five years, and production of the first series, the XT, began in 1992. OKA is without doubt Australia's least-recognised vehicle manufacturer; but it has outlived many better-known names, and continued to manufacture vehicles in Australia until 2011, from its Bibra Lake factory, south of Perth.
While the core OKA design is a cab-chassis, every OKA that has hit the road is essentially custom-built to the new owner's requirements. They are available as single cab, dual cab, multi cab or full bus body; and of course a limitless variety of fitouts. Depending on design, they will seat from two to 14 people.
The first two OKA production models, the XT (1992 to 1995, 250 vehicles) and the LT (1995 to 1998, 182 vehicles), measure two metres wide at the bumpers and just under three metres in wheelbase; only just larger than a 'normal' full-size 4WD. However the forward-cab design and high roof (minimum 2.5m) make the OKA look much larger than it is, and from a private owners point of view, provides a platform that is roomy on the inside, but still manouevrable for driving around town or through the tightest of bush tracks. The current model NT is just slightly longer at 3.19m wheelbase, to accommodate the optional Allison automatic transmission.
The OKA name is pronounced 'ocker', as in Australian; and that is indeed how the name originated.