Editor's Note:
Years ago, we ran a Nissan Hardbody in the Construction Zone section of Mini Truckin' called ITFELL, due to the owner's son saying that the truck had fallen when his dad first installed the adjustable suspension. We thought that story was great when we first met Russell Gulow and his son Nicholas way back when, but it really has meaning to this editor now. Throughout the past seven years, Russell and his wife Brandi have been working on their truck and on Mini Truckin' as freelance photographers and writers. Together, they cover all kinds of shows, helping us bring the show season to mini-truckers from another perspective.

During the years that Russell and Brandi Gulow have been working on the Nissan, it's gone through several phases of development. Most of that time saw the King Cab cloaked in primer. Although its real glow was hidden by a primer coat, Russell always knew that one day his own truck would shine as brightly as the trucks he's photographed for these pages. It took some years, indeed, especially when the reality of family life, monthly bills, and making ends meet pushed the truck's completion date further back than Russell would ever have imagined. There were times that Russell actually gave up hope of ever seeing his Nissan finished.

Way back when, Russell took his truck to a builder in Texas, who promised the moon and stars, but really hosed over both the truck and its owner. After waiting for what seemed like forever and having to remove it from that builder's shop, Russell was more than bummed with the way his truck looked. Much had been left undone, and it looked as though more would have to be redone from the truck's tenure at the shop. Russell didn't even want to look at the Nissan for the longest time. Eventually, though, he found the desire and will to do something constructive so the truck could make the 180-degree turn it needed and get back on a path toward eventual completion.

Around that time, Russell began relying on one of his friends to make sure that his truck would turn out the way he wanted it. He took it to his friend Ernie Camp in Alabama, who took over the project and began to sort out the utter mess that had been made of it. When the truck was finally made whole again, plenty of the custom work that had been done was what Russell had only dreamed about. Over the course of the next year, more progress was made on the Nissan than in any of the years previous. Things were coming along at a rapid pace, and before Russell realized it, his truck was nearly ready.

Russell found himself dragging his family to Alabama a lot more often, as his ride was finally coming along. It was on these trips that Russell found out just how good a friend Ernie Camp was and how much the two had in common. There wasn't much Russell would rather have done on the weekends during this time, and he couldn't wait for time off from work to haul back over to Ernie's shop to work on the Nissan and hang out with his friend. If Brandi Gulow hadn't realized how much the friendship meant to Russell, she might have been upset by all the time Russell was spending at the shop. To see that the truck was finished some time in Russell's lifetime, though, was more than she could have hoped for. As it turned out, this was the last truck Ernie Camp touched before he passed away.

When Ernie passed on, something in Russell stopped as well. During the past year that the truck has been completed, we haven't seen much of our friend Russell. The truck is great and all, and we love plenty about it, but it's the guy who owns it who we love more than anything. We only have our friends for so long, and although the loss of Ernie Camp saddens us, too, losing a friend who's still full of life is worse. We hope to see the Nissan showing again this year, with Russell behind the wheel.