Is this the first car born out of wood?
It doesn't look dainty, but might be the quintessence of frailty. Reportedly, it comes from the designer of the Aston Martin Lagonda!
You might have come across the most superfluous car concepts either on the road or during your visit to a Motor Show. While all of them had their distinct design cues, there was one thing in common. They were all forged out of metal, at least the most part of the body shell as some cars get carbon fibre treatment on the exterior as well in a bid to suit a particular purpose. However, this car here is made completely out of marine plywood. One look at the exterior and the boxy, crisp and edgy lines might give you an impression as if it were designed by the maker of Aston Martin's iconic, Lagonda. In case you did, you aren't committing a sin.
It forsooth has been contrived by William Towns in 1978 after he bid adieu to Aston Martin. Beginning its life as the Hustler Concept, it went up for grabs a year later in 1979 by the same name from through Town's Interstyl Design Studio. It is believed that precisely 500 units were built of this manufacturing marvel.
As this car has been built out of wood, it gives you the chance of a critical appraisal about its reliability, steadfastness on high speed roads and whether it would be sinuous enough to change directions rapidly. I am a bit precarious about the last one as the car sits on rather puny tyres and the body shape isn't something that would apparently maintain its balance when cornering hard around a camber. But I don't think this car was designed to be your primary vehicle. Maybe it was designated to be your city compatriot and for you and others to keep staring at it.
As the car is so old, the grille, the headlight and taillight, the dashboard and the seats, all take you through a drive down the memory lane. The silhouette reminisces with the car that has been allegedly crowned 'the ugliest car in the world.' You don't require quantum physics to guess that, I am referring to the Fiat Multipla.
That being said, I was spellbound by how well the engine components were snugly tucked in the engine bay. The most fascinating bit is the glass area on the side that provides entry into the car. It doesn't have any doors. More than that, it is the precision with which the glass area opens and closes. I could spot no unparallel panel gaps here.
The dashboard with several toggle switches is something that was rampant in every car of the '70s and '80s era. Expectedly, you don't get AC vents. However, it offers you comfy leather seats and a rather low transmission tunnel to punctuate legroom. It gets an in-dash stereo which is a nice touch and cavernously crisp analog dials for the speedometer and tachometer. There are jump seats at the back meaning impudently, it is a 4 seater.
It uses certain bits from cars of other manufacturers such as front and rear subframes, mechanical components, steering wheel and instrument binnacle from Mini, the headlights from Hillman Hunter, taillights from Triumph Dolomite but as the reviewer says in the video, he is unable to figure out which car bequeaths the wing mirrors and the grille.
Purportedly, this 1982 model was built by a proficient carpenter and wasn't a mere case of fixing and screwing the parts as only a blueprint of its design was provided to him. Wonderful, isn't it? A blueprint was given with each Hustler that was transferred to its new owner. In case you come across two of these, chances are you might find some discrepancies in the way they would look as the wheels aren't a part of the kit. One can expect the car to touch a top speed of 60 mph (100 Km/h) when the accelerator pedal is floored. The car is powered by a Mini sourced 1.0-litre engine that sends the power via a 4-speed manual ratchet. The hp and torque figures haven't been disclosed in the video though.
If you have got savings equivalent or more to 11,000 GBP, this utterly 'bizarre' machine can be yours. In the driving bit I could see the constant squeaks from the body parts and the vexing wind noise that made things uncomfortable. However, in case you are ready to be oblivious to that, it can be the perfect short-distance cruiser and you can have the attention of a Hollywood celeb, unequivocally. It doesn't have the trappings of a modern tech-laden car but has a different charm that nothing else on the road can dare to exude. Who knows, in case an auction house finds it deeply interesting or a museum holder falls for it, you might even create a good fortune out of this big boy's toy car!