Words By: Josh Wilson
Photography By: Grant Cox
Around the world on moon-lit nights and carefree weekends, chassis’ are being torn down or being reconstructed. It’s done in garages, driveways and even streets by enthusiasts looking to make their respective cars more neck-breaking whether it is go faster, go lower or improving the overall appearance. These dedicated people are just everyday guys and gals with day jobs of their own, but when they get home it’s time to break out the tools and beer and make some progress; each job teaching them something new, as the best teacher is some good old-fashion hands-on experience.
Back in 2005, Patrick Cox picked up this 86.5 Nissan Hardbody for a measly 250 bucks, but little did he know it would be a pre-cursor to the life he has today. Soon after, Patrick started turning wrenches in his mom’s driveway, which led to new tools and air ride parts for his personal project. After a few years he had built up enough clientele to finally decide that it was time to open up his own shop. During those three years, he had slowly transformed the Hardbody into a V8 powered, ground-hugging mini-truck. Experience he had learned from side-jobs and also tearing into his Hardbody would be the platform for a complete jaw-dropping transformation.
Patrick’s mother passing away in 2009 led to him stripping down his Nissan and starting completely over as a way to keep his mind occupied. It would be the start of a build that would take him three years and be a ground-up build with everything except paint done by himself. The first step was building a brand-new chassis for the truck which would include a 3-link wishbone in the rear and tossing the old carbureted small block for an LS1. To give his LS1 some rumble he added a Texas Speed Camshaft and also had a custom tune done to get the most out of his high-potential V8. Along with the healthy LS1, Pat added a narrowed Dana 40 with Auburn LSD and 308 gears to put that power down on the pavement.
With his Nissan breathing new life, he had to make sure all that performance had a home worthy of a king. Pat would have his Hardbody sitting on a full-tube chassis that has been smoothed and painted. All of the brake, fuel, and air lines have been ran inside the frame rails to give it a clean and simple look. He also built custom upper and lower control arms along with a custom cross-member to make things just right. The chassis sits on a custom air/hydro suspension with some beautiful 15″ Wheel Vintiques’ smoothies at the front corners and custom 15″x10″ babymoons in the rear giving it some hot-rod flair.
Resting atop Pat’s custom chassis is a worthy body that has had a complete make-over. He went around the truck shaving anything that would take away from the simple and smooth bodylines. The custom work continues by way of a custom-built bed, cab floor, firewall and back of the cab. To give it a bit of a facelift, Pat added a Pathfinder front clip to his stunning Hardbody as well. After every detail was gone over with a fine-toothed comb, Calvin Santini & Tanners Customs laid on a refreshing Root Beer Brown which looks mind-blowning with the red powder-coated smoothies.