One of 100 Made: 1984 Nissan Trail Hustler

Just when you think you’ve seen and heard of every oddball creation based on a mass market vehicle, another one comes along that reminds you the aftermarket universe is vast and strange. This is a supposedly one-of-1oo Nissan “Trail Hustlers” built and it’s a more extensive rehash of a vintage Nissan 720 pickup than simply sticking a bed cap on. Take a look – that roof section is grafted onto the body, not entirely dissimilar from a Toyota 4Runner of the same era. The Nissan isn’t quite as well set-up inside, but it’s still got plenty of room for a mattress. Find it here on craigslist in Knoxville with  a somewhat ambitious price of $15,000 firm.

From the front, this really does look like a standard-issue 720 pickup with a bed topper – but a closer look reveals the actual fabrication work involved. Perhaps that’s why the seller is adamant about his asking price being a firm number, as the rarity factor for something like this is off the charts. However, while the imported square bodies market is certainly heating up, it’s hard to say for sure what something like this is worth. The history is documented, as a guy by the name of Tim Deese was so inspired by the sales success of the two-door Blazer and Bronco II that he managed to convince Nissan to send a few chassis his way to finish off with an integrated bed topper and no backseat.

Now, I get that the idea of grafting a roof to an open bed isn’t exactly Albert Einstein-grade genius, but it’s still pretty wild that one company could pitch a major manufacturer on an idea like this and actually get their phone call returned. Now, you can see why this concept perhaps didn’t make it past an introductory phase, as it really is a truck bed with a roof grafted on and not much else. Sure, you could throw a mattress back here and call it a day, but you may want to bring some friends along on occasion, or simply have an actual backseat to use for placing your groceries in an upright position. With just the truck bed to catch all of your passengers and goods, it’s likely just going to roll around back there, with little in the way of extra padding.

However, at this point in the truck’s life, we’re not here to over-analyze its faults, especially those that were incorporated by the designer himself. The 4Runner effectively came along and ate the Nissan’s lunch, as it had an actual back seat and the whiz-bang combination of a roof that lifted off entirely to form an open-air cruiser to go along with its rugged good looks. While it’s rare and certainly scratches my weird car itch, I’m not sure I can justify the asking price, even if it were in mint condition – which it is not. Would you want just an open bed in the back of your truck built for roaming, or does it need a backseat and storage compartments?


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  1. Erik Tisher

    Rare or not, I just don’t see that kind of money for this truck.

    Like 10
  2. Stevieg Member

    Rare doesn’t mean valuable. I had a 1985 Chevy Celebrity convertible (Hess & Eisenhardt). It was one of 200 made total, 100 made in 1985, the other 100 spread between 1984 & 1986, I no longer remember the exact numbers for those years. Anyhow, I lost interest in it after my son dropped an engine hoist on the rear quarter panel & put a small dent in it. It was otherwise in incredible driver shape. No rust, otherwise no dents, paint shined up well, nice interior & new top. It had a 6 digit odometer with just under 100,000 miles. I ended up selling it to a friend for $1,200.
    I forsee this truck not being worth much more than my Celebrity was worth. Cool concept. I think Toyota did it better though.

    Like 4
    • nlpnt

      I’m surprised the H&E A-body convertibles were anything like that common, 200 Chevys. I’d have guesstimated maybe a hundred across all divisions and years with Cutlass Cieras the most common (since Olds didn’t get either a Firenza or a Toronado ragtop).

      It must’ve cost a healthy whack more than a Cavalier convertible new since Hess & Esienhardt didn’t do cheap work and it was a handbuilt special rather than a factory job.

      Like 1
      • Miguel

        None of the convertibles of those years were factory jobs. They were all chop tops.

        Like 1
      • Stevieg Member

        Nlpnt, I know. I had never seen one before I bought mine. I recognized it for the conversion before I bought it, having been around a Ciera convertible in the past, but never saw the Celebrity. Oldsmobile did offer the Toronado with a convertible conversion too.

        I googled it long after I bought it, that is how I learned about it. I have seen another one floating around Milwaukee a couple times since, a brown 1984.
        I should have just kept that car. Hopefully the seller of this Datsun doesn’t have the same regret after he sells this. I still doubt he will get anywhere near the asking price.

        Like 2
  3. Miguel

    There are a version of these running around Mexico. I can’t remember if they are 2 door or 4 door models, but they are not rare, like this seller wants to claim.

    Like 1
  4. Howard A Member

    I’ve never seen one either, but doesn’t surprise me. With the 4Runners success, Nissan surely had a comparable model, we just never saw it. Fact is, I bet there were a bunch of cool vehicles we never got to buy, especially from Japan or Australia. I’d have to think parts would be just as tough to find as any mid 80’s Asian vehicle, ask Scotty G about that. Again( and again), they are a bit off kilter on the price, but what the heck, you can ask what you want. PT Barnum was on to something so long ago,,,

  5. Jim


  6. chrlsful

    duz the top pull off or not? It looks plactic (therefore a different material). It should.

    A ‘Two Up’ works ona motorcycle, Y not here.
    I only need one.

  7. Wheelman

    Not just a dusty barn find. Some photos don’t do it justice. Registered and on the road.Belongs to a close friend and neighbor of mine. Rare yes and to add a little more rarety, out of only 100 built, this is production #3. Verifyed by Nissan.In the eyes of a collector, who knows.

  8. Steve Fox

    I AM THE OWNER of the Red Nissan Trail Hustler , I DO have the back seat in storage , Email me at I just relisted it on Craigslist , Ebay , and Facebook Messenger. Thank You , Steve Fox

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