I am the third owner of a 1991 Nissan Hardbody purchased in 1997. For many years I drove this truck as my daily driver while raising my family. Everyday, for years, I would drive my daughter to school from our country home into the 'big city' to attend the arts school of her choice. One day cruising down the highway the engine seized up at 403,000 km and we had to wait for a ride in -25*C weather.
This was not the end of this vehicle. Since it had treated me so well I decided to get the engine rebuilt and continue to use it. It seemed like a good decision since the rest of the vehicle was still in prime condition with all mechanical and body parts cared for.
However it seemed my choice of the company I had do the rebuild was questionable even though I had researched the options thoroughly. The engine was just past the warranty range of 4000 km when it started to knock and service was refused by the rebuild company because of the 122 km over the warranty.
I drove it until the engine quit (shortly there after) and again was left with a choice of what to do. Even though this truck had been 'in the family' for years now I though it in the best interest of my family to get another vehicle.
This did not put an end to my little truck though. It sat there in the yard for a few months as life continued. Finally spring rolled around and I had decided what to do. I was going to modify this little guy into a hotrod.
I picked up a cheap V8 (350 CSB) and began working on stuffing it into the engine compartment. It took a fair amount of working out details such as engine mounts, exhaust manifolds, transmission brackets and all other sorts of items to make it fit and work.
Finally everything was ready and good to go. And man did it GO! I drove it for about 30,000 km with this engine and with a trip to the arctic circle under its belt the old cheap engine finally gave up the ghost and decided to lose a cylinder.
This did not discourage me from the quest now. After all the engine was only an old $300 part that lasted longer than expected anyway. The purpose was to see if I could make it fit and work and it did this amazingly well.
Now I was prepared to go further seeing on how it worked. Everything fit and meshed well. The truck, having a frame, took the power without issues. The traction and handling was superb, the extra weight of the engine only helping with front end traction and cornering.
The only thing needed was heavy duty brakes as evidenced by cruising through the mountains. Driving it hard and pushing it through its paces in the mountains showed that repeated hard stopping was affecting the performance of the brakes. The brakes even got so hot as to be glowing red hot as can be seen on stock cars during racing when hard braking is required.
I took the leap.
I purchased a brand new Edelbrock crate engine with 340 HP then added a RV cam to bump it up a little more. Then I coupled it with a 5-speed auto tranny with a medium shift kit and a hurst slap shifter. I was the stuff of dreams... well at least my dreams :)
There was very little left to do now. I was racing and keeping up to motorcycles, to there annoyance. Imagine have a sleek new performance bike between your legs and getting hammered by an old rusty Nissan pickup truck! Not that I didn't mind having a 'sleeper' hotrod. Nobody ever suspected what was under the hood by looking at it until I let them know by stepping on the gas.
Life, however, moved on and my little hotrod was parked temporarily in the garage. Temporary dragged on, and on, and on some more. I watched in disappointment as the dust grew ever thicker on it as it sat there. Then it became a 'shelf' collecting not only dust but articles as garage space dwindled.
It has been ten long years now of my hotrod sitting dejected and waiting for me. Oh, I have started it regularly to ensure all the engine and tranny seals were maintained and lubricated but that is about it. Tires go flat, no use pumping them up, it's not going anywhere. Dust thick enough on the windshield to block vision, no use cleaning it, its not going anywhere.
This truck has huge sentimental value and it pains me to see it like this. It has boiled down to two options. Sell it and let someone else enjoy it or fix it. Selling it would be like losing a family pet for me but at least someone could enjoy it. Fixing it is my main goal but that seems out of reach for me as well
Though it is fit mechanically, except for a new braking system I would like installed, it requires some extensive bodywork and detailing. The bodywork is just rust repair but body shop quotes are absurdly high. I even have most of the rust free replacement panels also stored but still the prices are unobtainable for me.
I will always remember this truck in her glory days of rust free and shining. That is how she was for most of her life while raising my family. Now approaching the 30 year mark in her life (23 of them owned by me) I think she deserves some love and attention.
So here I am asking anyone that can understand the sentimental value this has to me to help with restoring this vehicle back to its glory.