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1996 Nissan Hardbody D21 - Final Destination

Eight Years And Worth The Wait

Mike Alexander
Dec 1, 2009
Photographers: Courtesty Of Truck Trends
Photo 2/10   |   1996 Nissan Hardbody D21 front Right View
Takashi "Frank" Yashiki
Gunma, Japan Severed Ties
1996 Nissan Hardbody D21
Takashi Yashiki, or "Frank" as we call him, from Gunma, Japan, got his start in the minitruck scene almost ten years ago. He bought a brand-new Toyota Hilux in 2000 and began to check out a few of Japan's truck shows.
Even after static-dropping his new truck and fixing it up here and there, Frank soon realized that his Toyota just wasn't up to par with some of the other trucks being shown at that time. He finally decided that it was time to sell his Toyota to build a full- blown custom minitruck from the ground up. Frank is a custom chopper mechanic and fabricator so he bought a cheap 1996 Nissan D21 because he only wanted the frame and a clean title to work with, knowing that he would be able to do most of the fab work himself.
Photo 3/10   |   1996 Nissan Hardbody D21 undercarriage
At first Frank's reason for building a custom minitruck was just to surprise his other minitruck buddies, but as time went on he realized that he was building it much cleaner and more wild then he originally anticipated. Not only his friends, but other spectators at the Japan truck shows were impressed at the craftsmanship and quality of Frank's work. So after a few years of slowly building up his Nissan, Frank decided to take it to the next level and chase the high-end show-quality American trucks that he had researched online and in the magazines for years. Frank wanted to show people in Japan that building a full-blown custom minitruck is not just a hobby for the younger crowd and that it can be just as high end as full frame-off street rods. He decided that his final destination was to attend the huge Yokohama Hotrod Custom Show that is by invite only. Every custom vehicle in this show is of the highest caliber and Frank knew he had his work cut out for him to compete with the best of the best.
Photo 4/10   |   1996 Nissan Hardbody D21 left Side View
During the build, Frank opted to go with a five-lug swap and ordered a custom set of Boyd Coddington wheels. But when the wheels arrived, he saw right away that the backspace was wrong and the rim was too deep. Disappointed, Frank almost canceled his order and sent the wheels back, but the more he stared at the deep-dish billets sitting in front of him, the more he began to like the way they looked. Frank decided that he would redo the rear suspension and back-half his truck to make room for the wheels. Even though he was building his Nissan for full show quality and detail, Frank was determined that he would also drive his masterpiece. When designing and building the suspension, Frank made sure that it would function as good as it looked and he hand-built every single piece to perform but also to add beauty and symmetry.
Photo 5/10   |   1996 Nissan Hardbody D21 takashi Yashiki
Another important part of Frank's build was to outdo any previous custom minitruck in Japan with some serious body mods. Not stopping at just a flat bodydrop and custom-built suicide doors, Frank also molded in 4WD fenders to the bed to match the front fenders, but that wasn't all. Because the fenders now stuck out farther, Frank took this into account and to bring proper proportion back to the truck he extended the bed 4 inches. It's these little details that really make the difference between the everyday show trucks and the insane cover truck quality builds that we chase year after year. Granted we only have 12 covers a year to utilize, but many of our feature trucks, including this Nissan, are cover-worthy!
After working eight hard years on his truck, Frank was invited to compete at the Yokohoma Hotrod Custom Show, which is a huge honor in itself. Not only did he complete his truck just in time for the show, but he also took home best truck honors! Frank's final destination really paid off and he his happy to finally be done. Even though Frank said that he will always still be working on small details, we think his truck is about as perfect as you can get. Frank has enjoyed many years of the minitruck scene and has even visited California to hit the Forbidden Fantasy truck show and party it up at Ernie Macias' house parties. His humble personality, enthusiasm, and his willingness to help his fellow minitruckers makes Frank one cool dude in our book! As the Vice President of Severed Ties Japan, Frank vows to keep the quality coming so we're excited to see what's next. For more information on one of Japan's baddest minis, check out the Lowdown.
Photo 6/10   |   1996 Nissan Hardbody D21 wheel And Tire
The Lowdown
Rolling Attire
Wheels: 20x8 Boyd Coddington Timeless 6
Tires: 225/30-20 Nitto Neo-Gens
Chassis Modifications
Front Suspension: Custom-made upper and lower control arms, smoothed and chromed 2-inch drop spindles, custom-made tension rods with Heim joints, modified tie-rods to fix bumpsteer, custom steering dampers, five-lug conversion, everything custom-built by owner and made to look symmetrical
Rear Suspension: Custom-made parallel four-link, 2-inch narrowed rearend from Nissan 720 with 3.889 gears, custom made height-adjustable lower airbag mounts with airbags
Compressors: Air-Zenith
Frame Mods: Back-halved, custom-made motor mounts, shaved waste holes, sectioned crossmember under radiator, painted black
Gas Tank: Triangle Racing fuel cell
Brakes: Polished Wilwood four-piston calipers on with 310mm rotors in front, Nissan 300ZX calipers with 290mm rotors in back
Misc: Custom-made stainless brake and aluminum fuel lines, Earl's fittings, wiring harness and hard-lines for air runs inside the frame
Performed By: Owner
Photo 7/10   |   1996 Nissan Hardbody D21 custom Interior
Body Modifications
Shaved: Door handles, emblems, corner markers, taillights, gas door, tailgate, antenna
Body-dropped: 31/2 inches
Front End: Polished JBM phantom grille insert, Suzuki GSX-R HID headlights, 4WD front fenders, reverse open hood, hand-formed cowl top, extended hood to match cowl top, custom-made bumper using Toyota P/U bumper and valance, built in Tacoma marker lights, one-off billet
Back End: Grant Kustoms combo
Taillights: Custom-made LED taillights
Suicide Doors: Custom-made reinforcement frame inside pillar of cab
Misc: 4WD fenders built in bed and rear of bed was extended 4 inches to make it sleeker. Inside bed is also built smooth using sheetmetal. Bed floor opens with air cylinders for access to fuel cell and air setup. License plate also pops up with air cylinders. Nissan Pathfinder windshield, polished windshield molding, Street Beat rag-top
Performed By: Owner
Brand and Colors: Flare Z Metallic Orange and Amezist Purple Pearl
Misc. Small graphic on back end
Performed By: Mr. Ishikawa and Owner
Seats: Recaro buckets wrapped with tweed
Dash: Completely hand-formed sheetmetal dash that can be removed
Door Panels: Wrapped with tweed, billet door handles
Center Console: Custom-made from sheetmetal, wrapped with tweed
Flooring: Custom-made by Tintshop
Headliner: Suede
Gauges: Auto Meter Street Rod series mounted with billet gauge panel
Misc: One-off stainless molding on dashboard, chromed Ididit tilt steering column, Billet Specialties steering wheel, Air Ride Technologies switch on center console, billet rag-top handle from The Interior Shop, billet rear view mirror, Lokar inner door handle, billet pedals, one-off billet emergency brake knob
Performed By: Owner
Head Unit: Rockford Fosgate RF9100
Mids & Highs: Rockford Fosgate P162 two-ways in door
Subwoofers: Rockford Fosgate 8-inch
Amplifiers: Rockford Fosgate P4
Misc: Viper remote system that operates bed floor and license plate
Performed By: Owner
Transmission: Nissan 300ZX
Rearend Type: Nissan 720 truck shortened two inches
Intake: Dual Solex 44mm carbs on one-off manifold
Header/Exhaust: One-off headers and stainless exhaust
Inner Fenders: Custom chopper fenders
Detail Work: One-off valve cover that looks alike KA24, chrome parts galore, Russell plug wire loom, Taylor plug wires, NISMO electric fuel pump, cylinder block painted, chromed pulleys and brackets and motor mounts
Special Thanks From Owner
"To everyone who took me into the scene, all the friends who helped me, Mini Truckin', Truck Trends, Tintshop, my club Severed Ties, my good friend rivals like Takuji from No Regrets, and others, my boss Kurosawa at K&M Motorcycles, and my wife Megumi."


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