1966 Suzuki X6 Hustler
April 10, 2008 3:11 PM
Suzuki was born in 1909 amidst Japan's booming silk industry as a manufacturer of silk looms. Ever interested in expansion, Michio Suzuki decided to being producing automobiles in 1937, but after the war, the government proclaimed that civilian cars were a "non-essential" commodity." Realizing that the Japanese citizenry needed a cheap and reliable mode of transportation, Suzuki began focusing on the production of motorized bicycles. Rewarded for technological innovation with market share, Suzuki was manufacturing 6,000 motorcycles a month by 1954, when it officially changed its name to Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd.
When Suzuki introduced the X6 in the fall of 1965, it caused an immediate sensation. Developed with the goal of captivating the U.S. market, the Hustler was designed to be the fastest 250 cc motorcycle in the world. The bike featured Suzuki's first ever tubular steel double-cradle frame, and its air-cooled two-stroke sleeved aluminum cylinder engine was capable of just about 100 mph. Surprisingly sophisticated, this little engine achieved 100 hp per one liter cylinder volume, which meant it could outrun most of the bigger, faster bikes on the road. It featured automatic oil injection, but more importantly, it was the first six speed motorcycle ever to go into full production.
At the height of production, Suzuki produced over 5000 Hustlers per month, selling roughly 35,000 worldwide over the three years of its manufacture. When Jay was in junior high school, the Hustler was the hottest bike on the streets, but its modest price tag of just under $1000 was prohibitive. Luckily, a "Tonight Show" viewer came forward with this Hustler, which had been sitting in his garage for 40 years. Now Jay relives his youth with this classic rice rocket that still sounds like bees in a coffee can!