When Chris Dyer's old Honda Civic took a major crap on him, he needed to get into another vehicle and fast. At the time, he didn't have a ton of dough to spend on a new vehicle, but he was still choosy as to what he would buy. His main requirements were that whatever he bought would have to be affordable and respectable, no matter what it was. To the delight of custom-compact-truck owners everywhere, Chris picked up a '91 Nissan Hardbody standard cab and began making plans to modify the truck. Since Chris is a hot-rod builder by trade, he already knew the ins and outs of building something typical into something extraordinary. While he wasn't going to build the truck to be a trailer queen, he did expect better-than-average good looks and precision when it came to assembly and the vehicle's overall appearance.

Chris first set his plans into motion by shaving several items and smoothing out the lower dash. When the body was perfect and ready for color, he sprayed everything in PR-4 (Viper Red to non-customizers), using Spies Heckler brand paint. Once he'd sprayed the truck's clearcoat and color-sanded and buffed the finish to a high gloss, he moved on to redo the rest of the truck's interior. Luckily, the lower dash was already finished, so he had one step of the process completed before staring on the inside of the cab. Chris kept the truck's stock bench seat, but built a very cool armrest/cupholder, which separates the center of the bench seat and makes it appear to be a pair of bucket seats at first glance.

The truck also sports a painstakingly installed air-suspension system that includes a Pete & Jake's four-link setup, Firestone air springs, VIAIR compressors, and SMC electric valves for precise control of the truck's adjustable suspension system. When aired down, the Nissan kisses the pavement enough to heavily drag frame. When asked what he learned from building his Nissan, Chris simply stated, "No matter how much planning you put into a project truck, things will always take longer than you expect. You also tend to learn who your real friends are at the end of a buildup."

Although some might tend to discount Chris' Nissan because the door handles aren't shaved and the roll pan isn't molded into the bed, we tend to see the truck differently. There was as much care and planning put into this cleanly executed Nissan as in many of the completely molded and shaved trucks we see. For this reason alone, we felt compelled to photograph the truck and show our readers what a daily-driven show-worthy ride can look like.

The Lowdown

Wheels/Tires 18x7.5-inch MB Motoring Juice wheels with 225/40R18 Visa radial tires

Suspension Toyota five-lug front hubs / Nissan brake calipers / '94 Toyota 2WD rearend and drum brakes / Pete & Jake's four-link rear suspension setup with 'bags mounted on four-link bars for added lift / 'bagged front and rear with Firestone air springs / dual VIAIR 450cc compressors / 3/8-inch lines used to plumb air suspension throughout / SMC electric valves used for air-suspension control / 5-gallon reserve air tank / Doetsch Tech rear shocks / fully detailed suspension / custom aluminum fuel tank / step notch for rear axle travel / extended stock driveshaft with Toyota yoke by 2 inches / all suspension work performed at Driveway Werks in Gainesville, Georgia

Misc. Mods JBM billet inserts in grille and front bumper / Trenz billet antenna / updated '96 4x4 Nissan front fascia / chrome Pathfinder mirrors / chrome door handles / relocated license-plate holder behind cab, on custom chrome bracket

Body Modifications Shaved hood squirters / shaved fuel door / shaved hood emblem / frenched antenna / relocated fuel door to bed floor / stock ribbed, raised notch cover / bolt-on Sir Michaels steel roll pan / modified euro taillights / trailer-fender inner front fenderwells

Paint Painted tailgate handle / Spies Heckler Viper Red paint by Chris Dyer in Gainesville

Interior Custom tubing used for armrest/cupholder painted Viper Red / custom door panels with speakers pods / billet window cranks / burgundy vinyl and tweed used for reupholstering door panels and bench seat / bench seat brackets cut down 1 inch / chromed shifter / custom chromed Billet Specialties steering wheel / lower dash smoothed and painted Viper Red / Auto Custom Carpets (ACC) carpet used for cab floor

Stereo Sony head unit / JL Audio speakers / Stinger wiring throughout / speaker pods in doors / complete cab is Stinger Road Kill sound-deadened / all installation at Driveway Werks

Engine/Performance Painted valve cover / custom battery tie-down / HPC-coated exhaust manifold and header

Special Thanks Chris' wife Juli / Chris' mom / Jamey / Tiffany / Chris Wheeler / Rodney Beasley / Eric Evans / Ryan Tate