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.

The Lowdown

Wheels/Tires 19x8-inch Motegi FF5 with Pirelli 235/35R19 high-performance radials tires

Suspension Belltech dropped spindles / Toyota front hubs for five-lug conversion / redrilled rear for five-lug / Airlift 2B-6 airbags front / 2B-6 Airlift 'bags rear / dual VIAIR 450C compressors / Toxic shocks up front / Monroe shocks in rear

Chassis RX-7 rearend / modified rear frame clip to accept RX-7 conversion / 5-gallon air tank tucked under bed / one-piece driveshaft / relocated fuel tank / reworked 30 inches of the truck's rear chassis to adapt to the RX7 rear end using 2x3-inch boxed tubing

Engine Tubbed front fenderwells / modified clutch / modified driveshaft

Interior Molded headliner / Momo Commando steering wheel / custom center console / Recaro leather bucket seats / Auto Custom Carpets black carpeting / one-off billet interior door pulls / all interior, except dash and inner door pulls, molded together

Stereo Panasonic ghost-face head unit / custom fiberglass enclosure by Extreme Concepts of Boaz, Alabama / MTX Thunder 895 amplifier / two MTX 10-inch 600-series subwoofers / two pairs of MTX component speakers in each door / four MTX component speakers in center console / Accele Vision 10.4-inch video screen / PlayStation2 mounted in dash on passenger side

Body Modifications 3-1/4-inch body drop by Ernie Camp of Munford, Alabama / FBI phantom billet grille / shaved door handles / shaved body lines throughout / shaved fuel filler door / shaved corner lights in front fenders / shaved mirror mounts / shaved windshield squirters / shaved third-brake light / shaved drip rails / shaved emblems / molded tailgate and roll pan / Toyota 4x4 front bumper and lower valance / Nissan 4x4 front fenders / clear turn-signal lenses in front bumper / smoothed steel bed floor and side walls / tubbed bed / radiused interior bed corners / Silver Star Customs' LED taillights

Paint/Graphics PPG Parrot Green base color by Marty McCoy in Coldwater, Alabama / custom mural work under hood between hood bracing / custom graphics and light stripe work on sides, rear, hood, and inside the bed

Special Thanks Recaro USA / Auto Custom Carpets / Motegi Racing / VIAIR / AirLift / Extreme Concepts / Ronnie Smith / Corrie Higginbotham / Ernie Camp / Nicholas Gulow / Brandi Gulow / Mike Reeves from Endless Fabrication / Marty McCary

Dedication:A special dedication of the completion of the Nissan goes to two friends that the Gulows lost during the buildup of the Nissan. Russell and Brandi were dealt the loss of Ernie Camp and Robert Yernest Jr., both very good friends of theirs. Both men were instrumental in the truck's different builds over the years and are missed every day.

  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • View Full Article