Back in 1997, when Michael Derrick, from Cleveland, Tennessee, was in the market for a new truck to customize, he set his mind on a '95 Nissan Hardbody he found at a local car lot. Michael is a mechanic by trade, so building custom rides brings his work and his hobby all into one. That's one of the reasons he decided to build this Nissan-to use it as an example of what kind of work he can turn out.
Michael is a suspension expert, and he immediately decided to do a 3-inch body drop on the truck along with a ton of suspension modifications. First thing to do was to build a step notch in the rear and a custom airbag bridge out of round tubing. A chrome Pete & Jake's triangulated four-link and a set of painted Toxic shocks were added along with a set of Chassis Tech 2-inch drop spindles. Airbags at all four corners allow the ride height adjustability Michael was after, and for draggin' purposes, the factory gas tank was raised 2 inches. Once all the suspension work and the body drop was done, it was time to redrill the hubs to a five-lug pattern so he could mount the set of 17-inch Dante Designs Donzi wheels wrapped in 205/40R17 BFGoodrich Scorcher tires.
The stock four-cylinder motor keeps this truck moving down the road with the help of a Flowmaster muffler. The entire exhaust was raised 2 inches, giving it better clearance. Michael also polished the valve cover and added a set of front wheeltubs that were painted to match the truck. In order to keep the truck cool, a radiator out of a Nissan 720 was added because it offered better clearance with the body drop.
To make the body of the truck stand out at shows, Michael, with the help of Heath Dunn and Jason Shell, performed a ton of bodywork before it was off for paint. The door handles, mirrors, wipers, emblems, third brake light, and washer squirters were all shaved. On the rear of the truck, the stock taillights were shaved, a California Combo rear skin was added, and the tailgate was welded shut. To keep the truck legal, a set of Cadillac taillights were angled, and a tag box was added on the driver-side corner of the tailgate. The inside of the bed received the full sheetmetal treatment, along with a set of wheeltubs
Now that the bodywork was done, the crew down at Abra Auto Body, in Cleveland, Tennessee, sprayed the Sherwin-Williams Lime Pearl paint. A full phantom billet grille from Trenz was added along with a front bumper off of a '97 Nissan Hardbody for the final touches. Once the paint dried, Michael took the truck across town to Line-X to have the bed sprayed.
Now it was time to tear into the interior. Michael knew he wanted it to be able to hang with all the other work already put into his truck, so after all the vents, the radio, and the control panel were shaved, the factory dash was scrapped in favor of a Nissan 240Z dash and console. Once the molding work was done to the new dash, it, along with the door panels, headliner, floor, and most of the other interior panels, was wrapped in tan tweed with a little tan leather here and there. He also added a few raised graphics in the dash and door panels. The stock buckets were then rebuilt and wrapped in tan leather by Custom Interiors in Cleveland, Tennessee. The new steering wheel was custom made and painted as one of the last touches to the interior.
Michael would like to thank all of his family and friends that helped in the buildup of his truck, especially his wife April, daughter Emily, and the members of his club, Acrophobia.