It was all too tempting to use PistonHead’s Shed of the Week feature title for this update. It’s a wooden car for sale on eBay. Wooden – shed – geddit? Oh, never mind.
What you see here is quite a rarity. It’s a Hustler Hellcat which, as is painfully obvious, is made out of wood. But not only that, it was the brainchild of none other than William Towns – he, most notably, of Aston Martin Lagonda fame. If you squint hard enough, you can see the similarities between the Lagonda and the Hellcat from the photos. Squint harder. Harder still. Got it yet?
Having left Aston Martin in 1977, William Towns went freelance and launched Hustler – a modular kit-car project that spawned a number of variations. I’d forgotten about the Hustler until I stumbled across this eBay ad last night. But I remember it from my youth, probably because it managed to blag a half-page photo in my I-Spy Book of Cars. I’m guessing it was situated somewhere between Honda and Hyundai.
But the original Hustler looked faintly cool – like a vehicle from my Action Force collection, designed by Aston Martin, for use on a Spanish coastal golf course.
According to AROnline, as many as 200 kits were produced at William Towns’ studio in Gloucestershire. I just love the way so many variants of the original concept could be produced – Hustler was the late ‘70s equivalent of Audi. Find a gap in the market and fill it. Even if buyers aren’t aware that a gap exists.
There was a pick-up, a beach car, a flat-bed truck and a camper. Personally I’d have taken the Hustler Sprint, with its lip spoiler at the front and 8-inch lowered ride height. Such a cool looking machine.
The Hustler Hellcat was introduced in 1982 and was, as described by Keith Adams, “a very basic open-top, jeep-like version”. The survivor for sale on eBay is described as a “Baby Aston Martin Lagonda” and whilst that might be stretching things a little, you can understand the sentiment. Besides, it’s better than saying “Not an Aston Martin Lagonda” or “L@@K, SUPER RARE ASTON MARTIN CYGNET CONCEPT”.
Underneath that wooden bonnet lies the 1750cc engine from an Austin Maxi and, given the Hellcat’s timbered-construction, we’d like to say a leaf spring suspension. But we can’t, so we won’t.
It’s not exactly loaded with toys, with just a tow bar, sunroof and casette player listed on the description. Although it does appear to have a fire extinguisher and a set of period-looking tiger-print seat covers.
At the time of posting and with a day of the auction still to run, the Hellcat is up to £1,500, having attracted a total of nine bids. So there’s clearly some love for the wooden toy. Kit-cars aren’t really our thing on PetrolBlog, but the Hustler story remains an interesting chapter in Britain’s motoring history, so for that we’re glad this Hellcat has survived the past 30 years.
If money grew on trees, we may even had branched out to make a cheeky bid. But instead, we’ll leaf this to someone else. Stop coffin at the back, what do you mean you woodn’t be seen dead in a car made out of wood? You clearly can’t see the wood from the trees lad.
View the Hustler Hellcat for sale on eBay here.
Images © eBay and Wikipedia.