1987 Nissan Hardbody
Long Beach, CA
There comes a point in some men's lives when the opportunity to burn their family's legacy into the minds of the masses presents itself. Some fellas get lucky and have everything just fall into place, but others, such as the case for Patrick Rios, unearthing life's treasures requires years' worth of excavating.
Ever since he could remember, lowriders were the center of Patrick's galaxy. His father's '64 Impalas served as the base for what would later become an obsession for beautifully restored vehicles of all makes and models. The endless depth of quality paint, the attention to even the most minute of details, and, of course, the boulevard-grating stance of the long and lean '60s custom classics put a stranglehold on Patrick's attention. Unfortunately for Patrick, becoming an owner of a traditional lowrider just wasn't in the stars, but he was able get his hands on a true diamond in the rough.
Patrick's grandfather, who battled a declining eyesight condition, had to give up his vehicles due to his inability to drive, one being a lonely '87 Hardbody. Patrick became the fortunate inheritor of the Nissan, which actually catered to his taste in modified rides more than he even realized at the time. "I remember my first notable experience with a minitruck like it was yesterday. I was 7 or 8 years old, riding my bike around the neighborhood, when out of the blue, rolling down the street was a late-'80s 'Yota. This truck either had the meanest static drop ever or was equipped with air shocks, because it dragged right over the manhole cover in front of my house. I thought it was one of the coolest things I had seen ever seen," recounts Patrick. With that memory still vivid, he entered his high school years with a cool little truck and plenty of big plans for its future.
As soon as school was out, Patrick clocked into work with as many summer jobs he could find the time for. After a few years, he finally saved up a large enough bundle of cash to hand over in return for everything he needed to 'bag his grandpa's old truck. After that, the Nissan didn't receive another custom modification for six years until 2008. "Other than required maintenance, I didn't touch the Hardbody because I was either in school or working crazy hours. I had no time to spare on my truck. It wasn't until I noticed the build articles that featured Mike Alexander's Toyota in Mini Truckin' by a local shop called Chassis By Aaron. I had dreamed of upgrading my Nissan with a basic custom frame, a five-lug conversion, and a hydraulic system, which I always wanted. After taking a trip to the shop and speaking with Aaron Iha for a bit, I knew I was finally ready to take the next step, and this was the man who I wanted to help my truck reach its full potential."
That basic modification list eventually evolved into what you now see on these pages. The process lasted quite a bit longer than Patrick had ever intended, but once he saw his truck's gradual progression, he had no thoughts of stopping. "The Hardbody I knew two years ago has transformed into a work of art. I never expected this build to stretch so far, but I'm glad it did. I'm very thankful to Aaron for all his countless hours of hard work. I know he enjoyed the tedious build just as much, if not more, than I did. Now that's it's finished, I'd like to thank my grandfather for entrusting me with his truck. I know he's smiling down from heaven right now."
For more on Patrick's priceless chunk of minitruck gold, consult the Lowdown.