Why This Faded Nissan Trail Hustler Might Actually, Possibly Be Worth $15K
You might not know by looking at it, but this is one of the rarest Nissans out there.
The retro four-wheel-drive market continues to heat up, especially for throwback American and Japanese rigs that scream nostalgia. Whether it be a 34-year-old Toyota 4Runner that fetches $23,000 or a K5 Chevy Blazer Restomod that costs 13 times as much, people are in love with old 4x4s. One model that doesn't get much attention, though, is the Nissan Trail Hustler, and that's partially because few have actually heard of it. With just 100 made in 1984, they're certifiably rare and, depending on who you ask, worth more than you'd think.
This 101,000-mile Trail Hustler for sale on Knoxville, Tennessee's Craigslist is pegged at $15,000. That seems like a lot to pay for a Nissan 720 pickup with a bed topper, but this is far more than that as you can see in the photos. Plenty of fabrication work was performed by Tim Deese, who undertook the project and created what effectively became the Pathfinder's precursor.
The front of the cab passes through to the rear without a divider, but you won't find any seats in the back half. Instead, it's much like a 720's bed with carpeted wheel wells. It's a little unorthodox compared to SUVs that would come later, but this was a perfectly rugged two-passenger runabout when it was released. Not only could you keep your cargo dry in case of a storm, but you could also lay down a blanket and sleep 'neath the fiberglass knowing you'd be safe from the elements.
Under the hood lies a 2.4-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder that was known more for its reliability than its power. The 103-horsepower lump's design was used by Nissan for years in vehicles like the Hardbody pickup, proving its at least worth its weight in salt if not gold. A traditional manual transmission handles the modest power output and dispatches it to all four wheels, providing the sort of rough-and-tumble attitude we'd come to expect of Nissans from this era.
Tragically, the Trail Hustler and the eventual Pathfinder were no match for the likes of Toyota's 4Runner, which sported rear seats as well as a completely removable top. In reality, it might've been the duo's lack of an open-air option that held it back as all of the period's most popular off-roaders could be had with a convertible roof. Still, the Trail Hustler is a genuine rarity and, while the market is less-than-simple to decode, someone out there might pay the asking price for this beauty.
They'd be a lot more likely to get $15,000 if it was in mint condition, though, and sadly, it isn't.
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h/t: Barn Finds