- An iconic William Towns design
- Delightful and fascinating wooden coachwork
- Guaranteed to be an eternal head-turner!
56 bhp, 1,275 cc OHV inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel rubber cone independent suspension, and hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 2,794 mm
The Volkswagen Beetle apart, perhaps no vehicle has been so widely employed as the basis for specials or offbeat automobiles as the British Mini. Its largely self-contained mechanical systems, with both front and rear sub-frames, lend themselves perfectly to the formula. Among Mini specials, factory or homemade, none stand out like the Hustler.
In 1978, working in his studios at Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, William Towns took a set of Mini sub-frames, front and rear, and connected them with a low-slung steel floorpan. Fibreglass body panels and a clamshell bonnet were topped off with the roof of marine-grade plywood. Large panes of flat glass all around provided superb visibility, as well as an excellent view of the occupants and their baggage. Seating comprised injection-moulded chairs, complimented with a utilitarian black rubber floor. Access came via sliding side-panes that Towns called “windoors.” A tailgate at the rear was top-hinged.
The press were enthused, so Towns sought out Jensen as a manufacturer. Talks were unsuccessful, so he took on the venture himself, undertaking production of Hustler kits at his Interstyl Studios. The first model, Hustler 4, was a four-wheeled vehicle; by adding a second rear sub-frame, he came up with the six-wheel Hustler 6. Other take-offs included the Hustler Sprint, a sporting version, the Jeep-like open Hellcat, and the Huntsman. The latter had larger wheels and Hydrolastic or Hydragas suspension, drawing on ADO16 Metro parts bins. At the 1980 Earls Court Motor Show, Towns introduced a version constructed of marine plywood. Called “Hustler-in-Wood”, it was intended to be built by owners from plans, and fitted with an alloy-framed “glasshouse” supplied as part of the kit.
This six-wheel Hustler in Wood has been craftily built and outfitted in yachting fashion. The wood is highly varnished, and inset caned panels provide décor contrast on the sides. Wicker baskets, water skis, life preservers, chrome horns, and scuppers adorn its topside. Aquamarine-and-white vinyl-upholstered seating for 10 is provided in the sheltered interior.
If you would like to upstage your friends with a Mini Moke or Fiat Jolly, this is your car—the ideal partner to a Riva or Pedrazzini.