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Autotrader Find: 1988 Nissan Hardbody Desert Runner Special Edition

I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about a vehicle I’ve come across on Autotrader. What we’re looking at today is a 1988 Nissan Hardbody pickup. But this isn’t just any Hardbody. This is one of just a handful of special edition Desert Runner models offered to commemorate Nissan’s successful 1987 season of off-road racing, when it took home victories in the Mint 400, Baja 1000 and Gold Coast 300. I didn’t even know these existed.

It’s unknown exactly how many Hardbody Desert Runners were built, although all were apparently offered for the 1988 model year (what an incredible name for a truck, by the way — boy has Nissan lost its way in recent years). The number the listing throws out is 1,000, and that sounds about right. The package consisted of pretty much every cool off-road feature you could get on a pickup in the late 1980s. Standard fare included body graphics, a roll bar with overhead lighting, steel tube front and rear bumpers, tube running boards, chin mounted auxiliary lights, a trophy truck-style tailgate net, BF Goodrich all-terrain tires and a bed-mounted spare tire. The Desert Runner even came with a party truck in the form of a cage at the front of the bed where you could secure a cooler.

This particular example is located at Adventure Motorcars in Birmingham, Alabama. While it comes with a whopping 262,500 miles on the odometer, it’s also been fully restored, which the listing dealership claims cost over $20,000. Loads of new components were involved, meaning that this Nissan Hardbody will feel much newer than its odometer will reflect, and it even comes with a matching Nissan hat from the 1988 Mint 400. The truck and the hat can be yours for $18,499. Find a Nissan Pickup for sale

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Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill is an author specializing in competitive analysis, consumer recommendations, and adventure-driven enthusiast content. A lifelong car enthusiast, he worked in the auto industry for a bit, helping Germans design cars for Americans, and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He runs an Instagram account, @MountainWestCarSpotter, which in his own words is "actually pretty good", and has a... Read More about Chris O'Neill

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