Custom 1998 Nissan Frontier - Daily Dragger

Making Roll Pans Quiver

Chad Lucas
Nov 1, 2009
Photographers: Mike Alexander
Photo 2/11   |   1998 Custom Nissan Frontier ryan Nelson
Never in our lives have we seen someone with such utter disregard for roll pan safety. Ryan Nelson of Glendale, AZ, is no stranger to taking the quick way out of getting the rear of his '98 Nissan Frontier reworked. The story has gone on for years with Ryan's two rides: his S-10 and namely his Frontier. You walk up to one, if not two, of the cleanest trucks on the West Coast scene. As you make your way around the rear of the truck a tingle starts to annoy your throat, and as you get the full vision of the back the dream of the perfect mini is abruptly ripped out of your clutches. How could it be that this completely dialed and perfectly finished mini looks like it dragged through a sprinkler-testing field and snagged every one of them? Time and time again: "When can we shoot your truck?""I'll put a new roll pan on.""You just put a new roll pan on.""Yeah, but I got in an argument with it; the asphalt and I won."
Photo 3/11   |   1998 Custom Nissan Frontier front Angle
How disappointing but cool at the same time. There is nothing more down than violating the perfection of untapped pavement, and let alone with a fully complete showstopper. Ryan Nelson is more than down. He is the reason why the mini-truck scene is as strong as it is. We just wish that he would put the smack down after we have done our jobs.Another fact that's amusing is the reason that Ryan built the truck: to have a reliable, comfortable daily driver that complies with most of the laws. (Excuse me!) It turns out Ryan's S-10 was a huge fan of the Glendale PD. Whatever the offense (too low, taillights, tint, etc.) Ryan was getting sick of it.
Photo 7/11   |   1998 Custom Nissan Frontier rear Angle
So, working as a bodyman by trade, Ryan picked up a totaled Frontier and got to work. After it was fixed and sitting in front of his house while attending a neighbor's party, a brawl broke out. The fight would end up taking its toll on Daily Dragger's hood and bedside -- after which Ryan went through two tailgate skins, two sets of his custom-made rockers (after they had already been fixed a few times) and two valances. So, the final count: five valance alterations, three roll pan adjustments...to hell with rockers, Ryan says. Some battles are just not worth fighting.
All this has been since the truck was painted. For all of those that say you can't drive a truck like this daily, just keep in mind that Ryan has put 38,000 miles on his truck and plans to put on many more. Now that we are done putting your truck forever in print to be remembered by mini-trucker's everywhere, go drag your truck to pieces, Ryan.
The LowdownRolling AttireWheels, front: 19x7.5-inch Alba Bank
Backspace: +48mm
Tires: 215/35ZR19 Nitto Neo Gen


Chassis Modifications
Suspension type: air
Rear suspension: reverse leverage-type three-link built from scratch
Airbag type and size: front - SS RS62 rear - SS RS72
Control arms: modified uppers to re-angle ball joint
Spindles: 2-inch drop spindles
Shocks: Gabriel
Valves: SMC 10mm
Compressor: Viair 380
Air line: 3/8 inch
Air accessories: Glass 5-gallon air tank
Frame mods: bridge notch
Gas tank: raised 1-1/2 inches
Misc: slip yoke put in driveshaft to save carrier bearing, five-lug conversion, Tacoma rotors in front and re-drilled stock axles in the back
Performed by: owner
Photo 8/11   |   1998 Custom Nissan Frontier dragging
Body Modifications
Shaved: door handles, antenna, squirters, wheel opening body lines, wipers, 3rd brake light, cab seams, metal one-piece smooth wiper cowl made to flow hood body lines
Frenched: retractable license plate in tailgate skin
Body dropped: 4 inches total - lowered cab mounts/floor 1-inch & traditional 3-inch, rolled pinch
Front end: factory front valance cut out and molded for bigger Yukon billet grill, and Yukon fog lights
Back end: smooth tailgate/roll pan skin, radiused taillight corners
Taillights: clear
Exterior bolt-ons: billet grill
Misc: new rockers made from 16 gauge; metal one-piece smooth wiper cowl made to flow hood body lines (factory is plastic); Street Scene mirrors adapted to Nissan base; tonneau cover is made from metal box tube frame with aluminum skin and radiused corners (front of bed is cut out for tonneau to sit flush), actuates with air cylinders; inside bed smoothed and Line-X'd, then painted over; etched logo in back window (done by Mark Malinoski, Sr.)
Performed by: owner and Tony Ludovico
Paint
Brand and colors: Spies Hecker - Daytona Blue (350Z color)
Style: single color
Performed by: prep work on truck and interior panels complete by the owner; Ronny Starling painted the outside of the truck; Jessie Ortiz painted all the interior pieces and valance multiple times and the roll pan; Ryan sanded and then Gary Nelson (his dad) buffed the truck out
Photo 9/11   |   1998 Custom Nissan Frontier dashboard
Interior
Seats: Nissan Pulsar seats lowered and cut down 8 inches
Material: Pewter Illusions (fake-ass leather)
Dash: shaved airbag hole, painted
Door panels: stock painted, lower portion fiberglassed with the holes and vents shut with recessed speakers
Center console: G35 shifter ring, then molded rest from fiberglass
Performed by: Razel Dazel upholstery wrapped the seats in Phoenix, AZ
Photo 10/11   |   1998 Custom Nissan Frontier amplifier Woofers
Stereo
Head unit: Pioneer DEH-P660
Mids & highs: Pioneer 6-1/2-inch components (front), Pioneer 6-1/2-inch mids (rear)
Amplifier for mids & highs: Pioneer
Subwoofers: 10-inch Rockford Fosgate P3
Amplifier for subwoofers: Rockford Fosgate P600
Video: Savv 1/2- din DVD player, Visualogic 7-inch monitor
Custom fabrication: wood box with sheetmetal cover; frenched screen in dash; recessed mids & highs in fiberglass, ext. cab panels, & lower door panels
Performed By: owner
Photo 11/11   |   1998 Custom Nissan Frontier engine
Engine/Performance
Rearend type: stock re-drilled for five-lug
Intake: made from 4-inch and 3-inch exhaust tubing to clear hood
Battery: Optima Yellow Top Location: below pass wheelwell
Inner fenders: trailer fenders, side aprons smoothed and moved in to flow with fender edge, shaved core support, firewall
Misc: chrome, wiring harnesses extended and moved between fenders and side aprons, part of Xterra hood skin used for engine cover, raised clutch cylinder 4 inches, 720 radiator
Performed by: owner
Special Thanks
Ronny Starling; Jesse Ortiz; Tony Ludovico; Gary Nelson; Scott Stroinski; Fred from Finishmaster; Mark Malinoski; and my club, No Regrets Vicious Billet

2015 Nissan Frontier Specifications

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Fair Market Price $17,068
MSRP $17,990
Editors' Overall Rating
Mileage 19 City / 23 Highway
Engine 2.5L I4
Horse Power 152 hp @ 5,200 rpm
Torque 171 ft lb of torque @ 4,400 rpm
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Fair Market Price
$17,068
Editors' Overall Rating
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MSRP: $17,990
Mileage: 19 / 23
Engine: 2.5L I4
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