MAY 2022

From Japan to America - Datsun sunny truck 1990

It's a 1990 Datsun sunny truck that I bought while living over in Japan in 2017.
I brought it back to the United States with me where I really started cracking down on the modifications.
Branden Gibson inst
— Tell us a little more about the purchase history of this car?
— I was living in Japan. I had always kind of liked cars but never really knew where to start. I had a few friends there that all had project cars and I quickly realized I wanted one for myself!

I went to a used car lot that was a friend of a friend and shopped around for a while until I found a pretty beat up Mazda RX-7 FC3S. I put new coilovers on it and just drove the hell out of it. Long story short; I ended up totalling it.

I went back to the car lot shopping around again looking for another RX-7 or an S13 or something else unique that caught my attention. I went one day and saw the ugly, stock little Sunny Truck sitting in his lot! I had no idea what it was but I could see right away it had so much potential. I took for a test drive and it made me fall in love with it. I ended up buying it the next day.
— What inspired you to modify it?
— When I started modifying it, I followed a bunch of Instagram and Facebook accounts as sort of inspirations to gather ideas on how I wanted mine to look and feel.

I slowly started changing things to how I wanted; new wheels, a chin spoiler, changed the headlights from square to round with the early style grille, deleted the bumper, etc.
— How often do you use it?
— When I bought it, I learned that it used to be a construction truck! I like to still use it as a truck as well! I'll load my mountain bike up and take it to the trail or use it get groceries!

I try and drive it every chance I get—mostly weather-permitting. It's a blast to drive through the mountains and take on just leisurely cruises. It turns heads everywhere I go. I can't fill up my gas tank without someone asking me what it is and talking to me about it. It's a great conversation piece!
— Do you build it with your own hands, maybe you get help from friends, or do you sometimes go to a workshop?
— When it came to the build process, I would be lying if I said I didn't have a lot of outside help. I have had a lot of good friends who were willing to help me out by lending me their shop and tools for a little bit or welding things that needed welded, etc. I couldn't have gotten this far without them.
— What is the attitude of your family towards your hobby?
— My wife fully supports the hobby and thinks it's a really cool truck! We actually met because of it!
— Why don't you get your car perfectly painted and rust-free?
—I've had people suggest getting the body to be perfect but I like keeping some of the history from the original owners as a construction truck. The writing on the side panels, the dents, the patina is all from the construction company! I think it's a good story to tell about the truck. Plus, I also still use it as an actual truck!
— What style would you classify your car as?
— As far as styling goes, I think it falls under Kyusha style or Shakotan. I tried to keep as period correct as I could with the styling as a Sunny Truck would look during the 70s/80s over in Japan!
• A15 swap
• Custom headers
• 450 CFM 4BBL Holley carb
• ARP head studs
• Multi-layer metal head gasket
• 3-core aluminum radiator
• 60-series 5 speed
• TA22 Celica Hubs/housings
• AE86 brakes
• AE86 steering knuckles
• PartsShopMax AE86 weld-on coilovers
• PartsShopMax S13 camber plates
• Flattened leaf springs
• 2in lowering blocks w/ U-bolts
• Bilstein Shocks (PN: 24-181488)
• Straight pipe
• Resonator
• Double barrel blast pipe exits
Front end
• B120 grille
• Universal 7in headlights
• Custom mounting brackets for headlights
• Universal fog lights
• Hakosuka/Datsun chin spoiler modified to fit wider wheels
• Bumper delete
• Clear/amber indicators/DRL
• Hood pins
• Bullet style fender mirrors
Rear end
• Custom spoiler
• Chrome taillight housings
• Rubber tailgate bumps deleted
• Deleted spare wheel and rack
Takechi Racing Hart
• 14x9-20 all 4 corners (rear has 28mm spacer)
• 185/55r14 Federal 595
• Flares Jumdoo Classic front 50mm, rear 70mm
• Custom short hub
• NRG Quick release hub
• MOMO Prototipo
• Checkman Racing weighted shift knob
• Bluetooth stereo (in glovebox to keep OEM stereo)
• 5¼in speakers on either kick panels
Photocredits: Brandon Gibson