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1994 Nissan Hardbody - Tall Order

Posted in Features on May 1, 2001
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Photographers: Joel Mollis

Jeremy Clanton of Mesa, Arizona, wanted just two things from his 'wheeler - to have it ride taller than most fullsize rigs on the road and to have fun. From the looks of his '94 Nissan 4x4, he got much more than he ever asked for. Aside from being a car audio installer, Jeremy is also a member of Pharcyde Customs, a club that dwells non-stop on customizing their rides. So when the time came for him to break out and do a little something on his own, let's just say that he had the resources and ideas at his disposal.

Making a mini-truck grow can prove to be a rather difficult task, yet, with a little hard work and creative innovation, Jeremy was able to succeed. To start the growth process, Jeremy recruited both 4-Wheeler's Supply and Valley Spring of Mesa, Arizona. The entire front independent suspension was cut off of the Hardbody, including the frame supports and the crossmembers. With these items removed, there was now plenty of room to install the '85 Toyota solid front axle, which would allow Jeremy and his crew to go as high as they wanted. With the axlemounts and brackets welded into place, the frame was strengthened, and the crossmembers and frame supports were altered to allow for the driveshaft clearance and then reinstalled. Custom-fabricated and arched leaf springs with 21 inches of lift were the next components to be installed atop the front and rear axles. To cushion such a stiff ride, Superlift shocks control each corner. For steering support, three steering stabilizers were installed. With such an extreme lift, a set of extreme tires and wheels is in order. To foot the bill, massive 38x15.50R15 Dick Cepek Fun Country Radials mounted on 15x12 Ultra Custom wheels were installed.

Turning such huge wheels requires more power than the stock Z-24 four-cylinder engine was capable of. To increase the engine's performance, a plethora of aftermarket items were installed. An MSD Ignition system along with a custom-ported intake provides a few more ponies, along with the ProDyno 2-1/2-inch after-cat exhaust system. The rearend was modified to accommodate the larger tires, while the factory 4:83 gears were left in place. Due to the increase in suspension height, the driveshaft was lengthened 2 inches by Dick's Driveshaft in Mesa, Arizona.

Most find that the suspension is a more than adequate place to stop, but Jeremy seemed to be just getting started. Wishing for the exterior paint and bodywork to be as extreme as the lift, he called upon Hollywood Autobody of Phoenix to perform its magic. Without wasting any time, the crew at Hollywood shaved and relocated the factory headlights to accommodate a Trenz phantom grille. The front bumper was smoothed and a roll pan was installed. Following the shaved theme, the door locks, the handles, the emblems, and the gas filler door were also removed. A space was created for the rear backup camera so that it could be frenched into the passenger taillight compartment. With all the body modifications complete, multiple layers of Aztec Red factory Nissan paint was applied to the truck and its Leer camper shell, which is permanently mounted since Hollywood performed a complete walk-through conversion from the cab to the bed, where the audio system is housed.

Speaking of the audio system, it would only make sense for Jeremy's truck to feature one of the most impressive sound systems we have heard to date. Consisting of a Panasonic head unit with an AudioControl 4.1 equalizer mated to six amplifiers that drive a total of 16 speakers, 12 of which are 10-inch JL Audio subwoofers, the rockin' system can be heard from miles away. When Jeremy doesn't want to hear music, he just puts his favorite movie into the Accelle VCR and it is displayed on two monitors; one 7-inch and one 5-inch. Powering a system such as this requires the use of four Optima gel batteries; one in the stock location and three in the bed area.

Complementing the audio system is the custom interior, which was hand-stitched by Jeremy. Acura Integra seats were covered by Jeremy in graphite and pewter tweed to match the custom dashboard, which houses the backup camera monitor and the video monitor. The door panels are from a Nissan Pathfinder and have power switches that open the doors from the inside, since the interior handles were shaved as well. To make room for the monitors in the dash, the A/C ducts and controls were relocated and now reside in the console.

Jeremy and all those who worked on his project feel that they have succeeded in building a mini-truck that's as big as a fullsize rig. Just a testament to the notion that from all things small something larger emerges.

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/hometown Jeremy Clanton/Mesa, Arizona
Make/model '94 Nissan 4x4 XE Hardbody
Suspension Custom solid-axle conversion; 21-inch custom leaf springs (front & rear)
Tires : 38x15.50R15 Dick Cepek Fun Country Radials
Wheels 15x12 Ultra Custom
Engine : Z-24 four-cylinder
Additional features Custom audio/video system; shaved door
handles, emblems, gas door; rear backup
camera; {{{Acura}}} seats; walk-through conversion;
Leer camper shell

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