Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX
Known around the globe as the 'Hardbody', the Nissan D21 (and the Datsun 720 before it for that matter) has an unshakeable reputation as the toughest truck in the world. Whether it's found traversing the deserts of the Serengeti, the base camps of the Himalayas, or the urban landscape of the American South, 4x4 trucks like this 1996 Nissan XE King Cab are revered for there toughness, reliability, and rugged good looks. If you want to survive the apocalypse, are just have as close to a guarantee as possible that your truck will start every single morning without fail, it really comes down to the Hardbody or Toyota pickups from the '80s and '90s. Beautifully preserved and 100% stock, this low-mileage pickup is as clean as they come, and even though it just turned 25, it's just getting started.
Before you balk at the price, I'll ask you to step back for a second and gaze upon the untouched preservation of this Hardbody. Now, go find another one on the market just like it. I'll wager that you'll unearth plenty of Hardbody trucks out there, but most will have a quarter million miles and chewed up steel, or they've been gaudily customized and driven through swamps for the last decade. This '96 beauty never left Missouri before it came to us in Texas, where it was under the direct care of conscientious owners that respected it's potential as a future classic. Aztec Red was a very popular shade and my personal favorite, accented with the original era-perfect decals down the side of the body. The paint is in great shape overall, showing only minor imperfections accrued over the last 82k miles, but nothing beyond expectation. It still shows incredibly well, and a professional buff-and-polish would even bring it up a notch. But unlike most of its siblings, there's no rust to be found, no dents in the body, and really no signs of stress that would make us think this truck has ever worked for a living. Just think about how rare that is an economy truck that was built to outlast all that a person could throw at it, yet it was never put to the test and worked hard. That's like having a thoroughbred and never racing it. The restraint shown by the previous owners is commendable, and the results show in how bright and shiny the grille and bumpers are, or how untouched the venerable double-wall bed (where the Hardbody got its name) still remains today. And even though this Nissan is still up for anything that it comes across, we hope that the next owner will continue to care for it at such a high level.
Inside, the unreal preservation continues, with an original gray cloth interior featuring bucket seats and an extended 'King' cab. The high-back seats show very little wear and are all-day comfortable, split by a factory center console just beyond the tall 5-speed manual shifter. Much like the body, the materials inside were designed by the Japanese to handle abuse, yet they've been barely put to the test. The door panels are the only part that show some minor age from the sun, although the dash is crack-free, the carpets are still plush, and the headliner is taut and in great shape as well. Anchoring the cab is that familiar steering wheel that graced Nissan's for over a decade, while just beyond it the gauges are crystal clear and remain completely operable. In fact, everything is still working exactly as it should, including the cold A/C, tilt wheel, and stock AM/FM/Cassette stereo in the dash. It's an incredibly safe truck too, not only because the steel in the body is so strong, but also because the US-spec Hardbody trucks received shoulder-harness seatbelts, ABS brakes, and dual airbags by 1996.
In America, we used to say that "there's no replacement for displacement", but modern technology (including our own) has all but rendered that idiom moot. So, before you bemoan the 4-cylinder engine in this pickup, know that it's one of the greatest motors to ever be designed for a production vehicle. Much like the Toyota '22R' series motors, the 2.4L KA24E SOHC engine simply goes forever with limited maintenance, producing great low-end torque and a respectable amount of horsepower (132) for this lightweight pickup, with the same engine configuration as the 240SX in these years. Sure, it's not going to win you any races, but I can all but guarantee that it will run long enough that your grandkids can enjoy it. So, if you really want a wheezy V6 with its every 60k-mile timing belt change, then you'll have to look elsewhere. As you might expect, this one is all-stock and running great, and the engine bay is about as close to factory presentation as I've ever seen in a Hardbody. Although maybe not quite as clean as the engine bay, the undercarriage is just as solid with no signs of rust or any other worries for that matter, and a set of bright blue shocks in the rear look to be practically new. The 4x4 system works great, power steering and power f
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