'80s-vintage Nissan makes for a funky truck

May 3, 2013 

The car: 1986 Nissan 720

The owner: Lance Eber of Merced

1. What are the key features of your vehicle?

It's lowered and has air ride suspension, a Chevy Caprice headlight conversion, an El Camino taillight conversion in a custom rollpan, a larger 720 king-cab window converted to fit the standard cab, shaved emblems and doorhandles and other unneeded things like a sliding ragtop, and a 1984 Nissan panel grafted into the tailgate.

2. What did you have to do to get it in its present state?

I've had the truck since 1987 with only 89,000 original miles. I saved money from odd jobs to get the work done; it took a lot of patience.

3. What else do you want to do to it?

Convert to a four-link suspension, get a custom paint job since it is in primer; finish up the interior, and make the bed a little more appealing.

4. How did you acquire your vehicle?

It was sitting up on a rack at the old Nissan dealership when they were located downtown. I took out a loan at 20 years old to buy it.

5. Why did you pick that particular vehicle and what do you find appealing about it?

I first saw a lowered 720 while I was living on Guam in 1985. I instantly fell in love with it and had to have one myself. The 720 just had a great look to it when it was lowered.

6. What started your love affair with cars?

I'm a guy. All guys like cars. When I saw the 720 lowered back in 1985, I just knew that was what I wanted. It was really the first time that I can remember seeing a lowrider. Rides on Guam were heavily influenced by the Southern California scene and what military members brought with them to the island when they got stationed there. The lowered minitruck scene exploded in the late 1980s and early 1990s and is still strong today.

7. What advice would you give others about starting such a project?

Develop a "master plan" for the vision of your ride. Stick to it and don't get easily swayed by the current "cool" thing to do. Stick to your idea and finish it up.

8. Do you have any other collector vehicles or project cars?

Nope. Just this one. No time for anything else with two kids, and being a soccer coach and referee.

9. What's your favorite memory about this ride?

Not really favorite but sad and kind of funny. Back in 1989 on April Fool's Day, several of us minitruck owners had our rides stolen. When the officer came over to take the report, he asked me if any of my friends would play an April Fool's joke on me. I said if they did, they won't be friends too much longer. I guess the favorite memory is just the fact that I slowly but surely do things to it to get it nearer completion. It's close to being done. The day will come sooner or later when I can finally say "it's done." Not sure when that will be though, but I'll keep chugging along.

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