Nissan Hardbody - Asphalt Assassin

Mark Halvorsen
Oct 1, 2007
Photographers: Brandan Gillogly
Photo 2/10   |   nissan Hardbody left Side
Does Joe Hughes feel enthusiasm for the minitruck lifestyle? A look at his e-mail address answers that question: It starts with ThreeAndAHalfBodyDropped. In fact, Joe's e-mail is an understatement, he spent 2 years and $25k to give his Nissan Hardbody Extended Cab a 5-1/2-inch body-drop and a whole lot more. Let's go into the details of Joe's Asphalt Assassin.
Photo 3/10   |   nissan Hardbody rear Speaker
Beneath the body's Cobalt-Blue DuPont paint lies a minitrucker's array of body mods. The old factory grille was replaced by a phantom model, and that bold, chrome front bumper came from a Toyota. Nissan 4WD fenders make room for the 20x8-inch Mob wheels and Nankang 225/30R20 tires. Cadillac taillights bookend the shaved tailgate and offset the license plate. The door handles, the third brake light, the mirrors, the antenna, and the firewall were all shaved. Even the rockers were cut off-not just for looks, but so the truck would lie lower. A sliding ragtop sunroof lets the sunshine inside, and the lid hides the 20-gallon fuel cell, air horns, two Optima batteries, and the custom frame that houses the suspension's air works.
Speaking of the suspension, 2-inch Belltech drop spindles and Contitech airsprings drop the truck to the ground in concert with the body-drop and amputated rockers. Underneath the hood, the valve covers and pulleys were polished. The custom four-link was made of stainless steel and the air valves were plugged into the frame. Joe, Paul Rodgers, and the Dropmob Crew did the bodywork on the truck. Joe and Paul did the suspension. Anthony Henderson and Joe laid on the paint.
Photo 7/10   |   nissan Hardbody billet Steering Wheel
On the inside, blue and white sets the overall tone for this truck. The dash was shaved and painted blue, while the bench seat was lined with white vinyl and blue inserts, thanks to A Staple & A Stitch in Lexington, Kentucky. A 13-inch flamed billet steering wheel pops from the white painted steering column. Four 10-inch Audiobahn subwoofers stud the enclosure, which was built by John, and are visible behind the truck's seats. Meanwhile, Audiobahn speakers dot the custom, white-leathered door panels, as does the 800-watt Audiobahn amplifier for the subs. Also, a Pioneer head unit flips out from the factory location in the dash.
Joe thanks everyone who worked on this project with him, particularly his wife Leslie, Gilbert King III, and those people who have already been mentioned in this story. Joe especially wants to thank his brother, Jay, who got Joe into the minitruck scene before Jay succumbed to cancer. Thanks, Jay, for inspiring your brother to build a sweet ride.



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