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Off Road Nissan Hardbody - The Mistress

Posted in Features on February 1, 2011 Comment (0)
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There is a great variety of vehicles available that make great platforms for building your off-road dream truck. Logically, the vehicles with the highest sales numbers usually also become the ones most supported by the aftermarket. And as great as that is for the majority of consumers out there, it means that there a lot of the same types of trucks driving around in the dirt.

As excited as we get seeing any street-legal ride built into an off-road work of art, our attention is most quickly drawn by those who step out of the pack and deliver a unique point of passion that can only be gawked at by those who've never seen such individuality. We really love to see and show you something different at OFF-ROAD magazine, so when we spotted Rich Goshay's Nipomo, California-based Nissan burning up the dunes, we were ready once he slowed down enough for us to catch up for some pics.

Hannemann fiberglass was used for both the rear bedsides and the front hood and fenders. They were covered in a PPG wild orange paint by Albert Rodriguez at Manuel's Autobody.

Rich handbuilt most of his Nissan Hardbody himself, along with the help of some great friends, because he didn't want to be just another truck owner in a long line of off-road rides that all looked alike. He spent many late nights and weekends working with what would come to be known as his mistress. When no one could find Rich, his friends knew he'd by with his mistress.

With a bright orange paintjob draped on a Hardbody cab and Hannemann fiberglass, we think Rich has accomplished his goal of making a truck that stands out.

Oh, and it's worth mentioning that this is the first off-road vehicle Rich has ever owned or built. It's sorta like a hole-in-one with DOM tubing during your first game of golf.

If it's not the color that attracts you to this truck, it has to be individuality of this little Hardbody. Rich started with two planks of 2x4-inch box tubing about seven years ago and went to work building what he wanted from scratch. He was originally going to use a Datsun cab, but switched to a later model Nissan Hardbody cab for a number of reasons-one being how much bigger the Hardbody cab was.

Rich built the front bumper himself, dropped two Hella 4000s in it, and mounted four Baja Designs lights in an over-cab light bar.

Rich grafted a Ranger I-beam front end onto his Nissan made by Mike Maddux at Central Coast Prerunners, keeping the stock Ranger spindles. Rich tells us he'll soon be upgrading to a Camburg spindle that is more robust.

Fox 2.5 coilovers carry a dual-rate coil setup allow the front end to move about 18.5 inches. Fox 2.0 hydraulic bumpstops soak up the extra hard hits. Poly Performance limiting straps stop the suspension's droop.

Mark Cook designed the steering on CAD and custom built the double crossover setup using four links and two bellcranks.

In the rear, you'll notice an air tank sitting directly behind the 30-gallon Jaz fuel cell.

Two Optima Yellow Top batteries sit directly behind the cab, with two coolers-one transmission oil cooler and one engine oil cooler-mounted to the cagework above the batteries.

The rear four-link attaches the Ford 9-inch rear axle to the chassis. The Ford 9-inch has had its pinion centered and packs Dutchman axles and an Auburn limited slip differential with 4.56 gears.

Fox 2.5 14-inch-stroke coilovers suspend the truck, while another pair of Fox 2.5 smooth body shocks compliment the coilovers. Rich built the trailing arms from scratch (he tells us it took two tries).

He used 1.75-inch, 0.120-wall DOM and 1.5-inch, 0.120-wall DOM tubing throughout the entire truck on top of the box tube frame rails.

Besides building most of the truck himself, Rich also assembled his own engine. A 383ci stroker V-8 with JE pistons and a Scat crankshaft sits in between the custom frame rails and is packed with direct shots of nitrous into the intake manifold.

The custom air intake is ported directly into the cab-something very helpful in a sandy environment.


Rich swaps between a pair of Sand Blaster II tires on Real Racing wheels, and a pair of BFG Mud Terrains that match the front ones. The Sand Blaster II paddle tires are lots more fun, though-just as long as no one is standing behind the truck.

Vehicle: Nissan Hardbody cab

Owner: Rich Goshay of Nipomo, California

Chassis: Custom-built 2x4-inch box tubing with 1.5-inch, 0.120-wall and 1.75-inch, 0.120-wall DOM tubing

Engine: 383ci stroker bored 0.030 over, Scat crankshaft, JE pistons, NOS direct port wet system

Drivetrain: TH400 transmission, Santa Maria Driveline driveshaft, Ford 9-inch with Strange third member and Dutchman axles, Auburn limited slip diff, 4.56:1 gear ratio

The interior of the Nissan cab was complete gutted. Inner door panels were replaced with sheets of aluminum and there is an aluminum dash laden with Auto Meter gauges. Under the dash, there's a TH400 transmission built by Mike's Transmission. The tranny and small block V-8 package necessitated some major firewall work. Beard seats and four-point harnesses keep Rich and his co-pilot in place.

Suspension: Front: Ranger I-beam suspension, Fox 2.5 14-inch-stroke coilovers, Fox 2.0 bumpstops. Rear: trailing arm and upper triangulated four-link, Fox smooth body 2.5 remote reservoir shocks, Fox 2.5 coilover shocks, Fox 2.0 bumpstops

Steering: Double crossover custom steering

Brakes: Disc brakes front and rear

Tires/wheels: 33x14.50-15 Sand Tires Unlimited Sand Blaster IIs on Real Racing wheels, 33x10.50R15 BFGoodrich Mud Terrains on Pro Comp wheels

Interior: Bears seats, Auto Meter gauges, custom aluminum dash, wink mirror

Other Parts: Baja Designs lights, Hella 4000s, Hannemann fiberglass fenders and bedsides, Hella 4000 lights, Baja Designs lights, Jaz 30-gallon fuel cell

Favorite Off-Road Area: Pismo Dunes


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