If You Love Something, Go Get It Back
When you work on custom vehicles, you experience all different styles and tastes, and sometimes, when you put your heart and soul into a build—even though it’s for your customer—it can have a lasting effect. In 1993, Dan Vangrud brought his stock 1990 Nissan Hardbody to custom truck builders Mik McCarty and Chris Walker. Located on a farm in Herman, Nebraska, off a small dirt road, Mik and Chris took the job of completely transforming the mini-truck into something the owner wanted.
For the next eight months, the duo ripped apart the stock truck and added a tandem axle by purchasing a second bed and cutting them both to form one single extended bed. They extended the hubs and spindles to fit bed bolts, and the floating axle was put in place as a Panhard kept it centered. They ordered and mounted an extra set of Boyd Coddington wheels to finish the tandem portion of the build. Once that was completed, Mik and Chris added a full radical removeable top for those sunny-day cruises. The next step was using air shocks to raise and lower the truck at the tap of a button.
Tracy Weaver from Recovery Room came in to transform the cloth interior to tweed and add new carpeting. The bed of the truck, now extended much larger, was given a canvas top that snaps in. Once the truck’s interior was moving along, Mik added a custom paint job using black, teal and purple that fit into the themes most popular in 1993-1994. Once the truck was completed and delivered to Dan, Mik had a bit of separation anxiety.
“I knew once the truck rolled out that I was going to miss it,” Mik says. “It was the one that got away.”
For the next 10 years, Dan enjoyed the truck until he decided to move on, and he sold the tandem Hardbody to his brother Dale. Dale had less love for the truck, and for the next eight years, the truck disappeared. It sat in a garage and wasn’t started or cared for during that time. Dale decided he wanted to turn his garage into a useful room and posted the truck for sale on Craigslist. At that moment, Mik saw the advertisement and his eyes lit up—he knew fate brought that truck back into his life.
Mik contacted Dale and within moments the tandem was back where it belonged. Mik had some corrections to make since the engine wasn’t running. He made sure everything under the hood was updated and running. The paint looked a bit faded, but Mik wanted to keep the OG style. He updated the paint in the same theme he had originally painted back on that farm. The ground effects kit was pretty badly beaten so they had to be reworked to fit perfectly again. Mik upgraded the entire stereo by adding a new head unit and rewired everything to new subwoofers and amplifiers.
With too many memories from the time he built the Nissan in ’93-’94, Mik couldn’t let the truck slip past him and fall into someone else’s hands. Twenty years spanned the build to the purchase, but Mik knew it was his destiny to get this Hardbody back. Now when he travels throughout the country to truck shows, he has the truck he is most proud to display. At shows he brags about how he can fit 10 of his friends in the bed and cruise through the shows, but we all know the size of the standard mini-trucker so maybe it’s closer to five.
1990 Nissan Hardbody
- Front Suspension: Air shocks, on-board Jacobs compressor, up and down valves
- Rear Suspension: Tandem axle extended by Myer Welding
- Engine: 2.4L, painted pieces
- Transmission: 5-speed
- Tandem bed
- Shaved door handles, hood center vent and washer nozzles
- Radical convertible top
- Ground effects kit
- Honda Accord spoiler
- 99a Centauri Black acrylic enamel
- GM Purple
- Serna Trucking Turquoise Teal
- Pinstripe by Rosie
- Baby Bravo OG side mirrors
- Custom tweed by Tracy Weaver at Recovery Room
- Pass-through subwoofer box
- Custom bed cover by Performance Covers
- Grant steering wheel
- Stereo: Kenwood head unit, Kenwood components, Cardiac 12-inch subwoofers, Rockford Fosgate amplifiers
Wheels & Tires
- Wheels: 15×8 Boyd Coddington Finned Stars cast wheels
- Tires: BF Goodrich Euro T/A 195/50R15
Special Thanks: My parents, Dale Vangrud, Dan Vangrud, Rich Cervany and Chris Walker