Blood, Sweat & Gears

October 14th, 2011

Text and Photos by Travis Noack

Chad Pickering; 1986.5 Nissan Hardbody; Oroville, CA; Severed Ties-Petitioning

The Little Kid Gets Big Shoes and a V-8

Mini-truckers are a unique breed of enthusiast. They build some of the most insanely detailed and modified trucks on the planet, and if told that they will never be able to pull off a certain modification or stuff a certain size wheel under their truck, the gloves are off and they run for the tools. Chad Pickering of Oroville, California, got the mini-truck influence from his dad who is a member of Severed Ties. Of course, working at his dad’s body shop certainly helped gets Chad’s gearhead adrenaline flowing, and being mere minutes away from Grant Kustoms, the metal gods, coaxed him into their chopping, cutting, section, shaving and metal reshaping cult.

The project started with a full custom 2 x 3 tube frame from the firewall back built by Chad and clipped with an S-10 front suspension. A narrowed 9-inch hangs out back with a triangulated 4-link keeping the rearend centered and planted. Slam Specialties RE7 airbags lift and slam the bite-sized custom, with 2-inch dropped spindles and Suicide Doors A-arms rounding off the updated hard parts. A Geo Metro power booster handles braking control, which is commanded by a custom pedal assembly that Chad built. An S-10 steering box points and shoots the massive rolling combination shoehorned in the front fenders. Chad was determined to run the largest wheel and tire combination possible on the Nissan, and he succeeded with 24 x 8.5-inch Velocity chrome wheels mounted on P275/25R24 low-pros.

It wasn’t enough that the truck laid body over massive 24-inch rollers, it had to rumble, too. The factory four-banger was retired from service. In its place a stock 350 small-block V-8 was installed and cooled with a universal aluminum radiator and lit-off by a GM HEI ignition. A Turbo 350 transmission spinning a custom driveshaft commanded by a Lokar shifter gets the truck rolling.

After the truck was burying the 24s and cruising to a new V-8 beat, Chad body-dropped it to lay on the ground and installed a Grant Kustoms smooth front bumper and full combo skin in the rear. A set of 4 x 4 front fenders houses the front 24s. Chad sharpened up his fab skills and built a full smooth sheet metal firewall and floor for the truck with a custom raised bed floor that opens in the middle to provide access to the rear suspension. Custom wheel tubs built by Chad with dimple dies incorporate the Nissan body line on the inside of the bed really tighten things up.

Chad crafted this mini on his own dime when he was still in high school. He did all of the suspension, chassis, body and metalwork himself. It is one of the first Hardbody’s body-dropped on 24s with stock sheet metal and Chad is quick to point out that the hood does close. He would like to thank Bob Grant and Zac Soares at Grant Kustoms, his dad, Ryan Falsone and Chris Sturgeon for the help and guidance throughout the project. Considering how much Chad has done so far by just grabbing the tools and going for it, we can’t wait to see what is in store for the Hardbody next.

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