This isn't Joe Hughes' first rodeo with his Nissan. His truck was shot and featured back in '08, but not for a cover. A fateful accident in the same year at Slammin' and Jammin' forced Joe back into the garage for a major repair/overhaul, but he swore to himself that the next time his truck found its way in front of a camera, it would be for a cover shoot.
But before a shoot like that could even be a remote possibility, Joe knew that he was going to have to rebuild his truck exponentially better than before. "I learned that it takes a great deal of patience with a complete rebuild. New, fresh ideas were important, and sometimes what I saw in my mind didn't come out too great in reality. That meant I had to start over and get it right the second time around" says Joe about the rebirth of his killing machine. The Caddy tails and ragtop ended up in the dumpster, and the fresh ideas Joe mentioned above came in the form of a completely reworked and detailed bed, engine compartment, and interior. Sure, all the extra work to produce the desired results Joe had envisioned would require lots of time and money, but to him those were minor obstacles on his way to the cover.
It wasn't the new modifications that proved to be the biggest challenges along the way as much as the revisiting and deleting of prior work turned out to be. "The metal on the tailgate and taillight area was so thin that it was impossible to weld anything to it. Four inches of the bedsides had to be cut off, and four inches of another bed had to be attached to give us the necessary support for the Cali combo and taillight fillers."
But Joe wasn't the only one affected by the rebirth of his feature truck. "A friend of mine who helped put the motor back spent so much time in the shop with me that I had to show his wife photos of the progress we were making on the engine bay to prove to her that he wasn't screwing around on her." Things like this made Joe and his buddies laugh and forget about the stress involved with getting the truck ready for its first public debut, which was sometimes enough to drive them crazy.
With the Asphalt Assassin back together and looking meaner than ever, Joe couldn't help but step back and share with us the real reason why he is even messing around with trucks to begin with. "I've been into minitrucks since I was 10. I'd watch my older brother Jay work on his '88 Nissan in the driveway. When he passed away in '94, he left me with his truck and a deeply rooted passion for this lifestyle as a whole."
There is no questioning a man's motivation when the results of his labor look as good as Joe's. And when the major source of opposition just happens to be your past self and capabilities, that's when you know you have the mentality of an assassin.
Owner: Joe Hughes
Ride: 1995 Nissan Hardbody
Hometown: Mount Sterling, KY
Wheels: 20-inch Starr Wheels 958 Dominator
Tires: 225/30/20 Nankang
Suspension (front): Air Lift Dominator 2500 'bags, Belltech spindles
Suspension (rear): Air Lift Dominator 2600 'bags
Control Arms: Custom
Compressor(s): Engine-driven and a Viair 480 as back-up
Air/hydro Accessories: 8-1/2-inch GC Extreme valves
Frame Mods: Rear frame doubles as air tank
Brakes: Rear disc conversion
Misc.: Summit Racing 10-gallon fuel cell
Performed By: Owner, Paul Rogers
Shaved: Door handles, antenna, tailgate, emblems, mirrors
Bodydrop: 4 1/2 inches
Body Mods: Custom-molded front end, full sheetmetal rear, glass roof
Performed By: Owner, Paul Rogers, Ronnie Parrish, Aaron Muncie
Brand & Colors: DuPont Starburst Blue and Bright White
Misc.: Silver airbrush trim
Performed By: Ronnie Parrish, graphic design by Lil’ Jack
Seats: White vinyl with blue inserts with custom-stitched pleats
Dash: 'Glassed and painted
Misc.: Door panels fitted with Audiobahn amps, hand-built center console, shifter routed through passenger side of console
Performed By: Owner, Vaughn Kelly, Ronnie Parrish, Paul Rogers
Head Unit: Jensen touch-screen
Mids & Highs: Pioneer 6-1/2-inch in doors and console
Subwoofers: Four 10-inch Audiobahn flame series
Misc.: One-off enclosure, hardlined subs (no wires)
Performed By: Owner, Leslie Hughes, Aaron Muncie, Tim Taylor
Engine: Stock 4-banger
Intake: Nissan 240 SX
Transmission: Auto fully smoothed and painted
Rearend Type: Toyota
Detail Work: Engine was pulled and painted, powdercoated brackets, valve cover and intake
Misc.: Optima cells under bed, one-off fenders
Performed By: Owner, Paul Rogers, Aaron Muncie, Specktacular pinstriping
Special Thanks From Owner
"Thanks to my wife, Leslie, Paul Rogers, Ronnie Parrish, Lil’ Jack, Aaron Muncie, Tim Taylor, Larry Hatfield, Gilbert King, and my brother Jay who was motivating me through the entire process. I’m waiting for the day when my brother and I will be draggin’ the asphalt together."