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1987 Nissan Hardbody - Heirloom

Patrick Rios' Precious Metal

John Mata Jr
Feb 1, 2011
Photographers: Henry De Kuyper
Owner: Patrick Rios
Ride: 1987 Nissan Hardbody
Hometown: Long Beach, CA
Club: Severed Ties
Photo 2/15   |   1987 Nissan Hardbody left Side View
There comes a point in some men's lives when the opportunity to burn their family's legacy into the minds of the masses presents itself. Some fellas get lucky and have everything just fall into place, but others, such as the case for Patrick Rios, unearthing life's treasures requires years' worth of excavating.
Ever since he could remember, lowriders were the center of Patrick's galaxy. His father's '64 Impalas served as the base for what would later become an obsession for beautifully restored vehicles of all makes and models. The endless depth of quality paint, the attention to even the most minute of details, and, of course, the boulevard-grating stance of the long and lean '60s custom classics put a stranglehold on Patrick's attention. Unfortunately for Patrick, becoming an owner of a traditional lowrider just wasn't in the stars, but he was able get his hands on a true diamond in the rough.
Photo 3/15   |   1987 Nissan Hardbody truck Bed
Patrick's grandfather, who battled a declining eyesight condition, had to give up his vehicles due to his inability to drive, one being a lonely '87 Hardbody. Patrick became the fortunate inheritor of the Nissan, which actually catered to his taste in modified rides more than he even realized at the time. "I remember my first notable experience with a minitruck like it was yesterday. I was 7 or 8 years old, riding my bike around the neighborhood, when out of the blue, rolling down the street was a late-'80s 'Yota. This truck either had the meanest static drop ever or was equipped with air shocks, because it dragged right over the manhole cover in front of my house. I thought it was one of the coolest things I had seen ever seen," recounts Patrick. With that memory still vivid, he entered his high school years with a cool little truck and plenty of big plans for its future.
Photo 4/15   |   1987 Nissan Hardbody truck Part
As soon as school was out, Patrick clocked into work with as many summer jobs he could find the time for. After a few years, he finally saved up a large enough bundle of cash to hand over in return for everything he needed to 'bag his grandpa's old truck. After that, the Nissan didn't receive another custom modification for six years until 2008. "Other than required maintenance, I didn't touch the Hardbody because I was either in school or working crazy hours. I had no time to spare on my truck. It wasn't until I noticed the build articles that featured Mike Alexander's Toyota in Mini Truckin' by a local shop called Chassis By Aaron. I had dreamed of upgrading my Nissan with a basic custom frame, a five-lug conversion, and a hydraulic system, which I always wanted. After taking a trip to the shop and speaking with Aaron Iha for a bit, I knew I was finally ready to take the next step, and this was the man who I wanted to help my truck reach its full potential."
Photo 5/15   |   1987 Nissan Hardbody engine Bay
That basic modification list eventually evolved into what you now see on these pages. The process lasted quite a bit longer than Patrick had ever intended, but once he saw his truck's gradual progression, he had no thoughts of stopping. "The Hardbody I knew two years ago has transformed into a work of art. I never expected this build to stretch so far, but I'm glad it did. I'm very thankful to Aaron for all his countless hours of hard work. I know he enjoyed the tedious build just as much, if not more, than I did. Now that's it's finished, I'd like to thank my grandfather for entrusting me with his truck. I know he's smiling down from heaven right now."
For more on Patrick's priceless chunk of minitruck gold, consult the Lowdown.
The Lowdown
Rolling Attire

Wheels: 20x9 KMC Unit
Tires: 245/30/20 Falken FK452
Photo 9/15   |   1987 Nissan Hardbody shifter
Chassis Modifications
Suspension (front): Hydraulic strut design
Suspension (rear): Cantilever, trailing arm independent rear
Control Arms: CNC-cut 1/2-inch-plate arms
Shocks: Doetsch
Air/hydro Accessories: Hydrohaulics cylinders, pump, five-way dump, and twisted spokes on pump by Mike Spears
Frame Mods: Full DOM tube TIG-welded chassis
Brakes: Toyota Pickup front rotors, calipers, and spindle shafts; Celica rear disc brakes and calipers
Misc.: Toyota Supra independent rear third-member, rear subframe; bolts were chromed; acts as the fuel tank cage
Performed By: Chassis By Aaron Iha
Body Modifications
Shaved: Doors, tailgate/rollpan combo, fuel door, turn-signal markers
Bodydrop: Past the pinch
Body Mods: 16-gauge sheetmetal, bumper, grille, dash, inner bed, Jeep Commander headlights, Chevy Colorado taillights flipped upside down, polished stainless woven mesh grille chopped 2 inches, 4x4 front fenders and hood
Performed By: Chassis By Aaron Iha
Photo 10/15   |   1987 Nissan Hardbody custom Truck Bed
Brand & Colors: PPG water-based Mazda color
Misc.: Metal worked and blocked seven times by John Torrance
Performed By: Paint by Detroit Auto Body in Covina, CA
Seats: Acura seat frames with new reshaped padding
Dash: 16-gauge sheetmetal
Gauges: Auto Meter
Misc.: Custom aluminum steering column, one-off billet steering wheel by Colorado Customs to match KMC Unit wheels, upholstered door panels, center console, sub enclosures, and armrests, Lokar shifter, Billet Specialties door handles and window cranks
Performed By: Rogelio's Upholstery, Detroit Auto Body, and Chassis By Aaron Iha
Photo 11/15   |   1987 Nissan Hardbody custom Interior
Head Unit: Pioneer AVH 4100DVD
Mids & Highs: Memphis Audio components
Subwoofers: Memphis Audio S-Class 15-SC10D4
Amplifiers: Memphis Audio M-Class Hybrid 16-MCS.1400
Misc.: 16-gauge sheetmetal enclosures, fiberglassed inside for thickness
Performed By: Chassis By Aaron Iha
Photo 12/15   |   1987 Nissan Hardbody subwoofers
Engine: Stock internals, ground and sanded block before painting
Intake: Weber Sidedraft with polished stainless velocity stacks
Header/exhaust: Handbuilt polished stainless
Transmission: Stock automatic
Misc.: Chromed and polished stock components
Performed By: Chassis By Aaron Iha and Graybill Metal Finishing
Special Thanks From Owner
"I would like to thank my mom, dad, and family for their love and giving me their compliments on the build. Many thanks and props to THE MAN, Aaron Iha! I can't thank him enough! Thanks to Aaron's wife, Christine, for her hard work and support through the whole process. Dale Thomas for being a funny mofo, Ben Dodd for his work, Kent Fletcher for his help and input on the build. Mike Alexander for somewhat building his 'Yota and following my build from start to almost finished. Thanks to the Hydrohaulics gurus Aaron Hunt, Derek Kordower, and Jeremy Rice for their support. Eddie at Detroit Auto Body, Rogelio's Auto Upholstery, and all of the other individuals I forgot to mention... thank you! And I can't forget my other family, Severed Ties."



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