June 11, 2023

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Built General Tough

Travis Pastrana’s Subaru Family Huckster gymkhana car

Travis Pastrana's Subaru Family Huckster gymkhana car

Travis Pastrana’s “Family Huckster” packs the guts of a gymkhana car into the body of a 1983 Subaru GL wagon. Pastrana unveiled this unusual build earlier this year, and the wagon makes its gymkhana video debut on Dec. 6. 

Inspired by Subaru GL wagons used as a marketing tie-in with the U.S. ski team, the Family Huckster retains the boxy profile of its stock counterpart but features a bespoke tube-frame chassis and carbon-fiber body panels and doors. While the wheelbase is about the same as stock, the Huckster is about a foot wider.

This makes for both a throwback to Subaru’s earlier days and a practical choice for video shoots, Pastrana explains in the video. It’s easy to see the corners of the car from the driver’s seat, which comes in handy when driving close to obstacles. Pastrana also doesn’t have to worry about damaging a protruding rear wing, as in his previous gymkhana car, the Subaru WRX STI Airslayer.

Travis Pastrana's Family Huckster 1983 Subaru GL wagon

Travis Pastrana’s Family Huckster 1983 Subaru GL wagon

Like the Airslayer, the Family Huckster was built by Vermont SportsCar, the firm that also builds the WRX STI rally cars Pastrana drives in the American Rally Association (ARA) championship. Underneath the boxy Subaru GL bodywork, the wagon has quite a lot in common with those rally cars.

Power comes from the same turbocharged 2.3-liter flat-4 used in the Airslayer. The engine produces the same 862 hp as in the Airslayer, which is sent to all four wheels through a 6-speed sequential gearbox. The Family Huckster is geared for a higher top speed than the Airslayer, topping out at 175 mph.

The Family Huckster also incorporates some of the active aerodynamic elements from the Airslayer. Flaps pop up when extra downforce is needed, then retract to help lower grip levels when Pastrana wants to get sideways. In place of the Airslayer’s large rear wing, the Family Huckster has a movable wing that rises out of the roof. 

In keeping with the family wagon theme, Vermont SportsCar added a roof rack that also serves an aerodynamic function. It helps direct air into a roof-mounted intake for the radiator, which is located in the rear of the car.

For authenticity’s sake, the wagon sports original Subaru GL taillights and badging on the outside, and some factory switches on the inside. Vermont SportsCar also recreated the stock dashboard in carbon fiber, with a blue tint referencing the original interior color. The builder also gave the digital instrument cluster some 1980s-style graphics. A non-1980s touch is the steering-wheel paddle, which Pastrana pushes to activate a radio, and pulls to turn on the windshield wiper.

Look for the Family Huckster in a new gymkhana video premiering on Dec. 6. In the meantime, watch the full video for an up-close look at this unique wagon.