FOR­EIGN AF­FAIRS

A Ti­tan With a Twist

Street Trucks - - CONTENTS - TEXT BY MIKE SELF AND PHO­TOS BY BRAN­DON BUR­RELL

BUILD­ING A NIS­SAN TI­TAN DEF­I­NITELY HAS ITS UPS AND DOWNS. On the plus side, they’re still a rare sight even af­ter 14 years of pro­duc­tion. Con­versely, they’re a pain to mod­ify, which might be why it’s un­com­mon to see them on the ground. Did Jimmy Chol­lett know what he was get­ting into when he de­cided to build a Nis­san full-size? Maybe. But as the pre­vi­ous owner of a ’bagged ’02 Dodge Ram, he was no stranger to a challenge.

Al­though there are a few lift kits available for the Ti­tan, if you want to go in the other di­rec­tion, you’re pretty much on your own. Go­ing down re­quires a lot of in­ge­nu­ity, a ton of one-off parts and slew of pa­tience. Af­ter all, you can’t just bolt on a kit and roll out like you can with other makes.

Jimmy’s first ex­pe­ri­ence with ’bag­ging his Ti­tan didn’t go as planned—at all. In fact, it was a pretty harsh les­son in choos­ing the right shop, as the rear sus­pen­sion de­cided to re­move it­self from the truck on its maiden voyage home. Luck­ily, he soon found Ruther­ford’s

Rods & Cus­toms, which fixed the whole air setup and made Jimmy’s truck as re­li­able as could be, which en­cour­aged him to hit shows with it as of­ten as pos­si­ble.

Around this time, a buddy of his, who also had a Ti­tan, men­tioned that he knew of an Infiniti QX56 front clip for sale. The deal was too good to pass up, and it didn’t hurt that Jimmy’s wife agreed to buy it for him for his birth­day.

But af­ter a few cruises with his club, Af­ter­math, he soon felt like the odd man out since his was the only truck that wasn’t body-dropped. Yeah, the guy with the ’bagged Ti­tan with a QX56 clip didn’t feel like his ride was turn­ing enough heads—go fig­ure. The peer pres­sure was

strong, so when he even­tu­ally dis­cov­ered Jake Mck­idde and Kyle Dimetroff at Phat Phabz, he knew what to do. Jake and Kyle are just about the body-drop­pingest guys around these days (that’s a new term as of right now). Jake and Kyle fab­ri­cated a new frame from the firewall back from 2x4 boxed steel, which al­lowed the cab and bed to come down a to­tal of 4 inches. And since ev­ery­thing else was now new and the rearend was get­ting nar­rowed any­way, the Phat Phabz crew built a new 3-link wish­bone rear sus­pen­sion and up­dated the front with cus­tom drop spin­dles from Michi­gan Metal Works. For wheels, Jimmy wanted to go the big ’n’ bil­let route (can you blame him?), so a cus­tom set of 22- and 24-inch Race­line De­cep­tive wheels, with 265mm wide Falken tires, were in­stalled all around.

Now, we would prob­a­bly be tempted to call it quits for a while and cruise, but Jimmy knew that if he slowed his pace, he might not stay mo­ti­vated to fin­ish the truck. In all hon­esty, it was the smartest move he could have made. Ac­cord­ing to Jimmy, things moved pretty quickly from that point. “From [Phat Phabz] it went to Twiz­ted Mindz Me­tal­worx for body­work and paint. I didn’t much care for the big fender flares that came with the front clip, so the [Ti­tan] fenders were grafted in and rolled into the bumper.” But the list of body mod­i­fi­ca­tions didn’t stop there. Stephen Bram­lett and Ryan

Alford from Ryan’s Sheet­metal De­signs put in some work in the bed, adding bead-rolled metal with dim­ple-die holes.” Once the body was blocked smooth, the truck was painted with Chrysler

Gran­ite Crys­tal Metal­lic to keep things classy.

Ap­proach­ing the fin­ish line, while no doubt show­ing plenty of up­dates on­line, Jimmy’s co­horts in the Af­ter­math Cal­i­for­nia chap­ter, Stan­ley But­ler and Elias (who goes by “Weezy”), con­vinced him to ship the Ti­tan off to Socal to hook up the in­te­rior at Cal­i­for­nia Up­hol­stery. With­out a fully formed plan, Jimmy just told them to sur­prise him. “I have no imag­i­na­tion, so I couldn’t fig­ure out a color scheme. Ten days later, the truck ar­rived back in Texas, and wow!” That last part pretty well de­scribes Jimmy’s truck in a nut­shell.

WOULD YOU BE­LIEVE THAT JIMMY SHIPPED HIS TRUCK FROM TEXAS TO CAL­I­FOR­NIA TO GET THE IN­TE­RIOR DONE BY HIS BUD­DIES AT CAL­I­FOR­NIA UP­HOL­STERY IN BELL GAR­DENS? EVEN MORE AMAZ­ING IS THE FACT THAT HE GOT THE TRUCK BACK JUST 10 DAYS AF­TER IT AR­RIVED IN CAL­I­FOR­NIA.

THE INFINITI QX56 FRONT END JUST MAKES THIS TRUCK. SURE, IT’S BOLTED ON, BUT A LOT OF EX­TRA WORK WENT INTO MAK­ING IT LOOK PER­FECTLY AT HOME ON THE TI­TAN. FOR IN­STANCE, THE INFINITI FLARED BODYLINES WERE ELIM­I­NATED BY GRAFTING SEC­TIONS FROM THE ORIG­I­NAL TI­TAN FENDERS INTO PLACE, AND THE LEAD­ING EDGES WERE ROLLED TO MATCH THE INFINITI BUMPER.

LEFT. THERE ARE A LOT OF WAYS TO CUS­TOM­IZE A TRUCK BED, BUT WE’RE BIG FANS OF MAK­ING A BIG IM­PACT WHILE MAIN­TAIN­ING FUNC­TION­AL­ITY.

AL­THOUGH THE EN­GINE IS STOCK, JIMMY DIDN’T SPARE ANY TIME, EX­PENSE OR EN­ERGY GET­TING EV­ERY­THING IN­SIDE AND OUT LOOK­ING TOP-NOTCH. FROM THE CUS­TOM PAINT, IN­TE­RIOR AND SHEET­METAL BED, THIS TI­TAN LOOKS ABOUT AS GOOD AS IT GETS.

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