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"Rough Terrain Vehicle"
RTV.

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Hughes’s RTV

Hughes’s – RTV

Having owned, as a family, a fair few Mini Scamps and having seen a few RTVs what better to discover one down in Sussex!

When Covid restrictions lifted, we decided a quick change of scenery down to friends in Hastings! We knew of an RTV down in that part of the world, so when interested in all things different, we went in search!  Only to not be able to find it…. oh well off to bed!  Woke up the next day drew back to the curtains to think…. oh!  There it is right opposite the holiday cottage we stayed in less than 200ft away, over we went and began chatting to Tim the then owner, to only end up two weeks later coming back with trailer in tow.

A new choke, throttle cable and battery fitted on the driveway the RTV sprung into life and drove itself, although badly, up onto the trailer. A real different sight being the only RTV I’ve ever seen move under its own steam, it really isn’t natural seeing it articulate driving up the road, but it brought a smile to both mine and my dad’s faces. 

A journey home to begin the what we thought a small restoration, in time for the picnic, a superb start as the ball joint fell out of the hub meaning a quick bodge on the trailer to get it into its space.

The Restoration began, like any other soon realising it suddenly looks worse at home than it did down in Hastings. The cab came off along with the panels to reveal what we were working with, we soon realised that the poor driving was down to the front hubs  being a combination of Mini and Metro meaning the 15.5xR15 wheels were facing in near opposite directions.

New Italian steering box fitted, and input shafts drilled and welded using the trusty pillar drill we dug out the hedge just for the occasion!  Rebuilt the front suspension using the intended Mini Hubs along with PlayMini doughnuts and Andrew MacLean’s load spreaders (a revised blueprinted version of the originals).  This end of the RTV went together extremely well and filled us with superb confidence for the ever-impending picnic just weeks away!

 Now we move to the rear of the vehicle…. writing this now I can feel the dread all over again!  A reminder at this point we have 2 weeks until the picnic. We built the back end again with everything being renewed or restored and uprated, firstly beginning with the drum brakes, no one really likes them, let’s face it to get the drum off it took a couple of lever bars and various hammers (yes we had wound the adjuster off as far as it would go), even when they came off it was a pile on the floor of springs and shoes.  The next thought was well they’re front hubs on the rear, this calls for disc brakes. Superb!  Excitement set in for the first test drive up and down the driveway…..  just to find when we selected reverse the multiplied torque self-steered the rear wheels in opposite directions.  After trial and error and a long story of a week of 11.30pm finishes with the help of Andrew, we triangulated some box section, added some rose jointed steering arms, which were attached to prototype longer steering arms coming off the hub, this is now 4 nights before the picnic.

Fast forward the boring bits of painting panelling and lots of riveting and we had a working articulating driving and extremely capable RTV.  Once at the picnic the first journey up to the Trig point with Andrew and Bella!  Was a huge success all the spare time we had paid off through use over the event we found that the original article “The RTV Goes Further Than Peoples Nerves” really is true!  It goes anywhere seemingly with ease and no loss of traction we just won’t mention the blown diff in my GT3 Scamp after trying to follow where the RTV went.  

I hasten to add it does need a servo and power steering! After doing more research we can now announce that this is the oldest RTV being pre-production and a Robert Mandry ex demonstrator, which was sold to Stirling shoot company in Scotland before making its way back down south to Hastings and now the Hughes