Slick Hardbody: 1993 Nissan D21 Pickup – SOLD!
February 8th Update – we confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
It’s hard to believe that some of the vehicles we previously considered the epitome of a beater are coming into vogue as a next-generation hobby car, worthy of an investment that just a few years ago would have appeared crazy. This single cab, two-wheel-drive 1993 Nissan D21 “Hardbody” pickup is a terrific example of this phenomenon, originally listed in January 2021 on Craigslist in Charlotte, North Carolina, with lots of recent improvements and some cosmetic enhancements for $2,500. Comparing this price against the NADA Price Guide reveals the seller has actually priced the truck quite fairly, as the “Low Retail” clocks in at $2,375 – and that’s presumably for a truck that hasn’t seen many improvements.
What’s nuts about seeing a truck like this lightly restored is that just a few years ago, they were still being used as beaters by college maintenance departments and auto parts delivery drivers. How many of us have seen a two-wheel-drive Nissan Hardbody pickup dropping off packages at a mechanic’s shop, usually with some goofy emblem or decor attached to the roof for the local auto parts business it ran errands for? Of course, there’s no shame in this, as trucks like this Nissan were chosen for their bulletproof reliability and dirt-simple mechanical systems. There was no navigation system to break, or a heated seat to give up the ghost. The four-wheel-drive models, yes, are a bit more complex, but the two-wheel-drive, four-cylinder combination? It was truly a base model truck with zero creature comforts, aside from perhaps a radio.
We came across this vintage 1993 Nissan Commercial extolling the great gas mileage these compact trucks achieved:
This Nissan has served as the seller’s daily driver, and he’s put some cash into it, as a result, to ensure it continues to fire up reliably each morning. Some of the new and replacement parts include: the radiator, ratcheting timing chain tensioner, thermostat, fuel pressure regulator, plugs, wires, air filter, vacuum lines, and brake master cylinder, among numerous other repairs. Other good news includes a rust-free body, and a new tire/wheel combination featuring upgraded wheels from a 2019 Toyota 4Runner. It’s not all good news – the clear coat is gone, the seller suspects the truck needs a brake job, and the alignment isn’t quite dialed in. Still, a fairly small list of faults for a truck is hardly ever found in the hands of an enthusiast committed to nursing it back to good health.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“2wd, 5 speed manual, regular cab, manual steering, manual door locks & mirrors, crank windows, KA24E engine, open rear diff, lowered 3 inches, square body S10 front lip, 248xxx miles.
The Good: bunch of new parts. Radiator, ratcheting timing chain tensioner, thermostat, fuel pressure regulator, plugs, wires, air filter, vacuum lines, brake master cylinder, brake fluid, valve cover gasket, alternator belt, front shocks, rear window seal, wheels and tires. All those are new. Might be forgetting things. Wheels are 17×7 oem 2019 Toyota 4Runner wheels. Truck is mechanically sound and will drive anywhere. It’s my daily driver. Gets 24mpg. Body is straight, rust free, and has a clean title. Carfax shows it was a Georgia truck most of its life. Has a/c and it works great.
The Bad: cracked windshield (as it was when I bought it, but passes NC inspection), clear coat is gone, cracked dash, might need a brake job before long, alignment is off slightly, one or both rear wheels have lost some weights and need to be balanced again, and the belt molding on both side windows needs replacing because it’s clearly the original molding.
The Eh: due to the rear window leak it had when I got it, hence the new window seal, the carpet was pretty gross. I yanked it before I even tagged the truck and sprayed bed liner on the floorboard. It’s waterproof and ready to handle muddy boots or whatever else you might spill in the truck. Headliner was also removed and now features various stickers. Oem shift knob felt awkward so I replaced it with a Miata oem knob since they share the same thread pitch. Door cards are custom grayscale plaid with red pull handles. No radio or speakers. Aftermarket Autometer tachometer installed because base model hardbodys don’t have a tach. Leaks a slight amount of oil… Maybe a quart over the course of 3-4k miles. Miles will increase because I drive this truck every day.”
Do you have a Nissan Hardbody story you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!