A Datsun Truck With Skyline Tricks
The Best Of Both Worlds

Datsun pickup trucks began their legacy in 1934 with the Model 13; a vehicle that was later used as the basis of the Datsun DC-3 Roadster. These trucks went through many changes up until 1969, but what always remained was a very small pickup with horsepower ranging from 50 to 77hp.

If you are living in the States like I am, this truck was just something you never heard of. Japanese trucks did not become relevant until the late ’70’s and early ’80s, when people started to realize just how bulletproof they were.

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Fast-forward a few decades, and old Datsun trucks are now more sought after than they ever have been before. Sure, they’re not quite on par with the C10 craze that is currently sweeping North America, but if you are looking for a rust-free, mid-century Japanese minitruck to base a build from, it’s becoming a tough ask.

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Raymond Moon grew up in the Inland Empire about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. Back in the ’90s, this was the place to be on a Friday, Saturday, or even Wednesday evening, as some pretty serious street racing went down. There were several makeshift illegal racetracks to choose from, and all you had to do was meet up at the local gas station off the Van Buren exit and Highway 60 and follow the crowds. The racing went on for years until a few serious incidents occurred and the law moved in and shut them down.

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Being a bit younger, Ray caught the tail end of Inland Empire’s late-night street racing scene, but he still ventured out in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo finding side streets where owners of fast cars lined up to race under the cover of darkness.

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Around the same time, Ray started hanging out with a few buddies that were into the whole minitrucking scene, and it instantly caught his attention. He started seeing a different side to the custom world; one where it was wasn’t about being the fastest, but who could go the lowest.

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One of Ray’s best friends, Alan Farias, who happened to be an up-and-coming airbrush artist, was also looking to get into minitrucking. Ray wanted to take his need for speed and his passion for being low and mix the two together.

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He eventually sold all of his projects – including both of his Evos – in order to save for a house, but he knew he would need at least one project to keep him sane.

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Enter the idea of colliding a old school truck with horsepower.

Dropped & Boosted
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Ray had visions of building a bagged truck with the power of his sorely missed turbo cars. He started looking into the idea more seriously and found out that Von Chounlamany, owner of Laodies Kustomz out of Iowa, already had a Datsun ready to go with the engine Ray wanted: a Nissan RB25DET from a Skyline.

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He quickly scooped up the truck and had it shipped to SoCal to finish out the project.

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The truck was exactly what Ray wanted, but far from complete. He called on his buddy Alan’s shop, AK Airbrushing & Auto Body, to do the finishing.

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After a ton of wiring work, metal work, suspension work and House of Kolor Gamma Gold paint work, Ray and Alan thought the end was in sight. But unfortunately, that was not the case.

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What Ray found out is that wheels are one of the most important choices you can make when building a vehicle; choose the wrong design and your vehicle just doesn’t do it. He eventually went with a set of staggered 18-inch Avant Garde F240s, which really completed his truck.

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Fitting them wasn’t so easy though, and before they were bolted up numerous modifications had to be made to the 521’s body. Alan at AK came through again, and as you can see everything worked out for the better in the end.

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Without the guidance of friends and experience this truck would of never become something special. But because of all these choices, Ray can now look at it and be thankful for everyone that helped him out.

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He also now owns a home, his dream truck, and has a Toyota Stout in his garage that’s just begging for a 2JZ swap.

Ray cannot thank his friends enough for all the help in finding and building his dream truck. His advice for taking on a minitruck project like this? Be patient; get the proper wheels; and make sure your team is behind you 100 per cent.

Don’t forget to check out the video above to see the 521 in motion.

Brian Goude
Instagram: grinder_tv

Cutting Room Floor
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30 comments

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1

So much yes. 

I will keep my negative opinions to myself but there is so much yes.

2

I really really want to love this.. lots of respect for the level of work gone into this build.

3
FrankensteinConnelly

I'm digging on this datto but I'm hoping that he does something with that ol yota in the garage

4
Design Department

Yes, agree, so much. Lots of commitment though.

5
azamat bagatov

bodyshop: aight fam what color u want the truck sprayed
dude: dawg my toddler ate some steamed carrots and squash, then shat it out. really inspired me.
  bodyshop: ur wish is my command

6

somebody school me please...

Ive noticed all these body dropped trucks, all look like the load bed is NOT properly lined up or "installed"

is it the extreme lowering that causes it to look like its been bent slightly in the middle?

cant it be sorted somehow.

Julian

JHB South Africa

7

Epic build, personally I think the dash could be more moulded. The video rocks. The reverse rake/nose-up-ass-down stance is reminiscent of guys using their pick-ups for construction/loaded work and needing to carry as much materials as possible in one trip.
It may not be everybody's cup of tea but something about it seems so honest. 

Thumbs up.

8

It can be sorted, it's not really a trait of body dropping. If we're talking about how the tail of the bed seems a bit lower than the front in this case.

9

ブリリアント  - brilliant !

10
awesomefearwave

seriously, one of the cleanest truck builds on speedhunters. but i'm just wondering what the owner plans to ever do with that engine. it seems stock to me. any plans for performance upgrades?

11

more minitrucks PLEASE!!!

12

One of my favorite features so far. Absolutely love it.

13
RichieTipsyKariuki

R32 RB25DET?
Do you mean R33?

14
SteveBerndsen

I noticed this also and it really bothers me when the cab does not line up with the bed. In this case I believe it's more of an optical illusion though. These trucks don't come stock with a bedside that reaches the same depth as the cab so when bodydropping you either need to cut the cab or extend the bedside down to match the cab bodylines. From the looks of some of the other images the builder has also widened the bed to allow for the wheels and swept the sheet metal back to match the original width at the cab. This has created a diagonal bodyline out from the bottom of the cab and gives the impression that the the lower bodyline doesn't line up. It just sweeps out on different angle from the bottom of the cab back towards the wheels....

15

Nothing makes me crazier than sagging body lines on a finished truck.

16

I like how this post never once talks about how he actually got the truck. I bought the truck from the original owner of the truck in Iowa and drove it back to Georgia where Ray contacted me from Craigslist and flew out to Georgia to buy it from me. Yeah I didn't build the truck but I did make my own modifications to it. I guess the original story just isn't cool enough to mention in a article.

17
Tristan Adiabatic

RichieTipsyKariuki

You could get r32s with rb25s as well

18

I like mini trucks. I wish the big three would have never killed off mini trucks. Mini trucks are way more practical for 90% of the people who wheel them everyday. They make sense, look cool and are fun. I daily a mini.

19

Yeah, they extended the bed down to match the cab and flare the bed sides out to clear the wheels.

20

Tristan Adiabatic RichieTipsyKariuki Not turbo ones fam. N/A, yes.

21
DrewNSamVandenberg

love this rig. Got similar plans for my 521 inc the brakes, bags etc but double the power and different brand 2.5ltr I can only hope mine turns out anywhere near the quality of this truck. well done laodies, previous owners and ray for finishing it off to this quality and promoting the mighty but underrated 521.

22

donkyyyyyy  they still sell mini trucks today (Frontier, Tacoma)  they are just way bigger.  I miss the smaller form factor to.

23
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24

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26

This truck, along with the Toyota Stout are now on the market.

27

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28

That is a boat load of crackin-fiber...

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