'One-of-a-kind' wooden car expected to sell for thousands at auction in Bath

The 1988 six-wheeled Hustler was built over three summer holidays in the mid-80s by a Bristol teacher. Credit: Auctioneum

A 'one-of-a-kind' wooden car is expected to sell for thousands of pounds at auction in Bath.

The 1988 six-wheeled Hustler was built over three summer holidays in the mid-80s by Bristol teacher John Brazier.

He was an ex-Rolls Royce engineer who helped work on Concorde before later becoming a woodwork and metalwork teacher at Brislington Comprehensive.

Auctioneer Andy Stowe says the interest in the car has completely blown him away.

"This car to me is completely amazing. I've never quite seen anything like it," he said.

"When I went to see it at the client's house a little while back, I was just blown away by it. I was told it was a car made out of wood, but nothing quite prepares you for what that actually means until you see it in real life.

"It really is a car made completely out of wood including the steering wheel, the gear knob, the dashboard, even the seats are made out of wood. Everything is made to an incredible standard."

The car features large sliding glass doors instead of doors. Credit: Auctioneum

He continued: "It's just the most fascinating, bizarre, imaginative and incredibly clever made thing.

"It was a real labour of love, and the skill involved in completing the project is immeasurable."

The Hustler was the brain-child of William Towns, the Aston Martin Lagonda designer.

The kits and plans to build the car were sold out of his home in Gloucestershire. Originally made from fibreglass, plans for a wooden example were released in 1981.

It's thought that less than 100 wooden examples were ever made, and given that each had to be hand-built by its owner, each surviving example is totally unique.

"They are rare, and they really are rare. Less than 400 were made, and most of those were made from fibreglass," Andy said.

The car seats eight people and was used as a family car for years. Credit: Auctioneum

"Only a handful were ever made from wood. Our estimate in the auction house is between three and four thousand pounds but given the response we've had, I wouldn't be surprised if it went beyond that.

"This belongs in a museum, it's been so well-made and so lovingly made that it deserves to be looked at by every pair of eyes in the country."

The Hustler served the builder’s family for 13 years, taking them the length and breadth of the country on various trips and holidays.

"This was a family car, it was built to serve a family. It's wacky and slightly bizarre but it's hugely practical. It sits eight people. It never failed an MOT, something that the builder was always very very proud of.

"Our client is keen to point out that it turned heads wherever he drove. It has all the wackiness of a kit car, but the sensibilities of a daily driver. It’s like something from Thunderbirds.

"It can be quite easily put back on the road with some tinkering."

It is thought that less than 100 wooden examples were ever made, and being that each had to be hand-built by its owner.

Talking about the history of the car, Andy says that it was "very famous in the corner of Bristol that it was made in St Anne's".

"The gentleman who built it was a very well-known woodwork and metalwork teacher in Brislington and all of his kids throughout some 20 or 30 years knew that that was his car so it's quite well known locally.

"It may look quite different to a conventional car – but the ideas behind it are so relevant to today’s ideas. A wooden car could almost be something dreamt up by Elon Musk – a sustainable way to build cars, an eco-friendly alternative to the mass-production car plants of today.

"It was remarkably way ahead of its time. Who knows, in thirty years we may all be driving wooden cars."

The car will go under the hammer at Auctioneum in Bath on 1 September.