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Busted Knuckles: The Death Dealer

Finishing this Nissan Build “Might Be the Death of Me”

Phil Gordon
Aug 13, 2019
There are two types of truck enthusiasts: the fullsize truck builders—who love the wide stance and large frames of trucks—and then there are the minitruckers. Minitruckers are a hardcore group of guys who will roll the smaller and lower trucks all the way to their grave. Once you're a minitrucker, you're always a minitrucker, those are the rules. Jonathan Burgess, of Dequincy, Louisiana, walks the fine line of minitrucker and fullsize enthusiast. "I'm a minitrucker through and through," Jonathan tells Truckin, "But there is just something about the widebody dualies that just make me stare." What happens when you have your heart in the small trucks but the desire for the big trucks? You combine them together.
The first step was finding the right body. As Jonathan began searching for the right starting point, he found a 1995 Nissan Hardbody sitting in a neighbor's yard that wasn't running and was just left to die. The mini had no engine and weeds were growing through the hood. After Jonathan inquired about it, the neighbor was more than happy to unload it for $200 just to get it off his lawn. After towing the Nissan to his home shop, JB Designs, Jonathan began the process of taking it apart and building the cab. Three different single cabs were used to create a crew cab body. The rear two cabs were cut in half and put face to face with the back of that cab placed back to back on the front cab. Confused? Jonathan wasn't and he was just getting started.
Photo 2/7   |   Busted Knuckles The Death Dealer Rear
Jonathan's next step was adding the stock-floor body drop to keep the leg room. A new floor had to be added and all new cab mounts were built. Next was the bed as it had to be built to match the cab. The new body was much longer, so matching it wasn't easy. Jonathan built a cantilever setup to get more lift for the rear. Now that the mini was coming together, it was time to add the motor. His friend David Brown from Brown's Automotive had an engine that he built, which fit perfectly inside the Nissan. Now that the Hardbody was up and running, Jonathan added more modifications like the suicide rear doors, a sliding ragtop, and then began shaving everything on the body for a smooth look.
The next step certainly makes the Nissan stand out. Jonathan wanted to turn his Nissan Hardbody into a dualie. Of course, the process isn't very easy. Jonathan worked day and night converting the smaller body into the wider body. The body had to be kept in line with the fenders, so he used a whole bedside to make the fenders. New control arms had to be constructed to bring the front wheels further out. An '09 Nissan Frontier clip was added to the front to give the Hardbody a bigger front bumper and lights.
Photo 3/7   |   Busted Knuckles The Death Dealer Engine
Once the new body was in place, Jonathan primed everything and added Epoxy Primer from Diamond Paint Supply and tinted it light blue. For the inside of the newly stretched interior, Jonathan started by adding fiberglass to the dashboard and console. A skull was molded in to hold his gauges and a sword shifter was mounted to switch gears. Four bucket seats were taken from two different Nissan Harbodys to make the mini a four-seater. Fiberglass was built on all four doors with speaker pods, along with four spots for subwoofers down the center.
Jonathan spent the good portion of ten years constructing his Nissan Dualie and knows that he still has quite a way to go. We here at Truckin applaud the creativity and know that Jonathan's idea not only to think outside the box but is turning that box into a circle of creativity and ingenuity. Jonathan wishes to thank his wife, Amber, for her patience and love as well as their two children, Tucker and Sawyer. A special thanks to David Brown for all the help and his Definite Obsession family.
Photo 4/7   |   Busted Knuckles The Death Dealer Interior
Inside the build
Year/Make/Model: 1995 Nissan Hardbody Dually
Owner and City/State: Jonathan Burgess; Dequincy, Louisiana
Club Affiliation: Definite Obsessions Louisiana
Chassis:
Front Suspension: 2-inch DJM drop spindles, custom-built tubular control arms stretched 2 inches, Slam Specialties RE6 bags
Rear Suspension: tribal-cut cantilever from 3/8-inch steel plate, two-link, Slam Specialties RE8 bags, 2x3x.250-inch frame from firewall back, 7-gallon air tank with EDC compressor, four -inch Parker valves
Drivetrain:
Engine: '95 Nissan 2400 built by David Brown at Brown Automotive, shaved heads, flat top pistons, EGR delete, billet pulleys from 240sx machined to fit, upgraded alternator from Nissan Quest, electric fans from Nissan Altima, long-vtube pace setter header, 2.75 exhaust with Magnaflow race muffler, custom cold-air intake
Transmission: stock with racing clutch
Rearend: custom-built driveshaft
Body/Paint: Epoxy primer tinted light blue by Diamond Paint Supply in Sulphur, Louisiana, stock-floor body drop, shaved everything, '02 Nissan Frontier front clip graphed to 4x4 hardbody fenders, built crew cab, built rear doors, Cali Combo, custom-cut taillights, hidden license plate, stretched bed and bedsides to make dualie fenders, sliding ragtop, billet mirrors, suicide rear doors, full sheetmetal bed floor, custom Lexan glass for rear doors
Interior: fiberglass dashboard, Equus gauges, graphed-in skull to hold gauges, flame steering wheel, sword shifter, fiberglass center console with box for four 10-inch subwoofers
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 20x8.5; Eagle Alloys dualie wheels, 6-to-8 lug two-piece wheel adapters
Tires: 225/35R20; Hankook

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