Hustler, Nevis

The Imp Site

Arawak Hustler

Arawak Motors in Antigua, West Indies,
where in the world 
started making Hustlers in 1976 [other source: 1978]. They purchased Imp chassis and mechanicals from the Chrysler Corporation or one of its agents. They moulded glass fibre bodies, assembled the cars (aluminium engine in the rear end) and sold them locally. A wild guess is that no more than 200/300 were ever made.

It lasted for a couple of years only. The company is no longer in existence. Peter does not know when it folded, but he remembers that their later models used a different engine.

Peter Hart (1919) has since 1979 owned one of the first, a 1978 Hustler. It was brought from Antigua to Nevis on the deck of a 60 ft. island trader. At that time (1978/79) a mercantile house on St. Kitts imported perhaps two dozen to St. Kitts and Nevis. He never saw any on islands other than those three.

He believes it was put together in 1979, the second year of production. The body is an assembly of seven parts of polyester resin and glass cloth. It was a good (heavy gage) quality fibreglass. Peter does not know for sure if the chassis were Imp or whether they made them up in Antigua. He believes all mechanical components are Imp, dash cluster and steering assembly, too. All electric systems are Imp. A Chrysler Imp Owner's Handbook came with it.
The only chassis number on the car is 78023. The first two digits are the year and the last is the sequential number of item manufactured.
The only number on the block is 875. Whether it is a standard or a Sport engine is unknown.

The photo was taken in March 2002. It still has the original side curtains - the only Hustler with sidecurtains that he knows of.

He stripped down the body of one made and delivered in 78. The body is in pretty good shape, but it was gutted for parts.

Peter has the last operative model on Nevis, West Indies. It is garaged in Nevis, he himself lives in Maryland at the moment.

"I have had cooling problems over the years but nothing that can't be handled by keeping the system clean and unleaking with a good water pump. The engine seized up once but not bad enough to damage the piston sleeves."
"A patient native mechanic has helped me over the years. Very resourceful guy who rebuilt the engine with a set of wrenches, screw driver, needle nosed pliers and emery cloth. He has gotten to be a good friend.
Problem is, he has a sleeping sickness and if he gets on his back underneath the car, it takes a lot to wake him. Fortunatly, he doesn't forget what he's doing while asleep."

From: Sheepy Schaaf
Sent: Nov. 04, 2013
Subject: feedback - re Arawak Hustler


please correct the introduction year of the Arawak Hustler (on the special pages) to 1976. I bought mine in August of this year. The serial number was 000026 if I remember right. Unfortunately I had to leave Antigua in 1981 and sold the Hustler then with tears in my eyes... ;-)

Later models were slightly bigger and had the engine in front, but I can't recall where it originated from.

I might be able to undig some old photographs, but this will take a little time as I'm on a long-period holiday right now.

Best regards from
Sheepy Schaaf

From: Sheepy
Sent: 12/06/13 05:46 PM
Subject: Re: feedback - re Arawak Hustler


Before purchasing mine, I had a chance to visit the 'production line' of Arawak Motors(?)/ Arawak Industries(?) and was impressed by the sturdy frames they welded together from rectangular tubing. Next to them were front axle assemblies and the whole rear drive kit (engine with auxiliaries, gearbox and axle). Bolted together the 'naked' Hustler was finished. It was mated with the fibre glass body consisting of the lower shell and the top roof. Fortunately the latter could easily be removed, especially when I replaced the standard fixations with wing nuts. Driving without the top was pure fun, engine noise was hardly recognizable, the little car responded to a slight pressure of your butt (or so was the impression...) - of course the drawback came with the next shower *lol*

The first bunch of Hustlers were equipped with the 875 cc engine (almost identical to the one I found in my wife's Hillman Imp of the early seventies, which I bought her later, because I was fed up sharing the Hustler with her).

Apart from regular filter and oil changes   (and occasional greasing? - I'm not sure on that one)   the Hustler (and the Imp) did not require much maintenance - should I have neglected there something important, I will apologise belatedly to the little cars.

One thing though was very vulnerable on the Hustler: Because of its jeep-like appearance people like me were often tempted to drive it off-road. And this regularly resulted in a perforated radiator; its lower end was much too close to the ground - especially when leaving paved roads. I do not recall how many radiator casings had to be mended or replaced...
Just the price you had to pay to drive the the Hustler out to the more idyllic beaches of Antigua...

Best regards
Sheepy Schaaf

Peter Hart, Nevis, West Indies. - Impressions Feb. 1994 and e-mail messages april 2002

I am looking for

     map West Indies

Patrick Neckles sent me a message on 20 May 2002 saying he too owns a Hustler. He and it are on Grenada.
And he knows of a Nymph on Grenada which is owned by one Sean Charles.

Imp specials
The Imp Site

© Franka

hus-tle   vb hus-tled; hus-tling 1: jostle, shove   2: hasten, hurry   3: to work energetically
hus-tler n 1: somebody too busy   2: whore