Travis Pastrana’s latest “Gymkhana” car is a 1983 Subaru GL wagon called the Family Huckster. It may not seem like an obvious choice for one of these builds, but the GL wagon made perfect sense to Pastrana and his team.
As explained in an episode of Subaru of America’s “Launch Control” YouTube show, Pastrana wanted to follow up the Subaru WRX STI Airslayer, the one-off STI he drove in “Gymkhana 2020” and used to set a record at the Mt. Washington Hill Climb, with something retro.
The WRX was the obvious choice, but the team at Vermont SportsCar, which built the Airslayer, wanted to build something different that was still distinctively Subaru. The automaker was known for building utilitarian wagons long before the WRX first tore up a rally stage, so the 1983 Subaru GL fit the bill.
The GL wagon also offered the possibility of a distinctive livery. It was available with a red-white-and-blue graphics package as a tie-in to Subaru’s sponsorship of the U.S. Ski Team. That look was replicated on the Family Huckster.
The Family Huckster doesn’t have much in common with a stock GL wagon, though. It’s based on a bespoke tube-frame chassis with carbon-fiber body panels incorporating active aero elements. Under the hood sits the same 2.3-liter turbocharged flat-4 used in the Airslayer STI, producing the same 862 hp. At the same time, Vermont SportsCar tried to keep the look as retro as possible, with details like 1980s-style graphics for the digital instrument cluster and a brake-bias switch disguised as a cigarette lighter.
Pastrana brought the Family Huckster to Florida for “Gymkhana 2022,” the 11th installment in the series, where the wagon shared the spotlight with lifted pickup trucks, a jet ski on wheels, and a 3,000-hp Chevrolet El Camino belonging to YouTube personality Cleetus McFarland. As with previous videos, there are epic stunts, but also plenty of close calls, and one scary accident that, ironically, didn’t involve a car. The usual warning of “don’t try this at home” definitely applies.
Check out the full video for the behind-the-scenes action.
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