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1999 Nissan Frontier - A New Frontier

This One Drags From Far Beyond The Horizon

Harley Camilleri
Dec 1, 2007
Photographers: Harley Camilleri
Photo 2/12   |   1999 Nissan Frontier logo
Kevin Zabiegala is no stranger to the truck-building life. Having already been featured in Truckin' before, Kevin hit the gas and has never looked back. His shop, AutoToyz Kustomz in Tomball, Texas, has pumped out its share of body-dragging rides. And even as you read this, the crew is nearing completion of yet another madly modified ride.
Photo 3/12   |   It may not look like it took much to tuck those 20s, but in reality, it took a completely new frame and tubbing the firewall to get the front 20-inch wheels to clear. Out back, the 22-inch wheels and tires suck under the body even further.
According to Kevin, this '99 Nissan Frontier was in absolutely terrible condition, and he even had doubts it was going to be worth a darn to bother with. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Kevin and his crew tore apart the Frontier to see what could be done to bring the little truck back to life. To create the planned body-dragging stance, the frame was cut off from the firewall back and planted directly in the trash can. Box tube steel, in the 2x3-inch variety, replaced the frame that was cut away. With the much-smaller box tubing and a little more work done to the Nissan's cab and bed floors, the truck almost laid rocker. Relocated upper control arms and a custom-built two-link mate to Slam Specialties RE8 'bags so the 20- and 22-inch Centerline Millenium Series Edge wheels and Hankook tires could slip under the body. GC450 valves and nitrogen tanks work in unison to make the truck rise and fall to the occasion.
Photo 4/12   |   1999 Nissan Frontier red Logo
Under hood, the minitruck sports a four-cylinder that is all factory, except for a K&N air intake and a Flowmaster exhaust. To make room for the drastic suspension modifications, the Optima YellowTop battery was relocated to the bed. Fuel for the four-banger is fed from an aluminum fuel tank displacing 20 gallons of dinosaur blood. Further modifications under the hood, to get the truck all the way to Mother Earth, include a tubbed firewall and a relocated fuel-injection ECM.
Photo 5/12   |   Alligator and tan leather fight to cover most parts of the interior. Everything you see was once gray and the Autotoyz crew made the swap with the wave of a magic wand.
Although the truck is a '99, you eagle-eyed readers may have caught the updated nose. AutoToyz replaced the stock clip with its '04 compatriot, which effectively brought the truck's appearance up-to-date. That was just the tip of the iceberg. The door handles were tossed, as were the windshield wipers, fuel-filler door, taillights, and emblems. Kevin completely enclosed the bed by welding the tailgate to the bedsides and the roll pan that replaced the rear bumper. LED lights were slipped and sliced into the 12-inch openings on each C-pillar with the finishing body modification being the 4x4 Frontier fender flares. In house at AutoToyz, PPG and House of Kolor paints were combined to create the sinuous color scheme scattering across all the custom bodywork. Mandarin Copper Orange covers the top of the truck with Pearl White filling in the lower quarters. Viper Blue blows down each side of the Nissan in tribal flames burning over both base colors. Angry skulls with menacing gazes were airbrushed through the flames before baby-blue and lime-green pinstriping completed the color transformation. Texas does have some beautiful days, so to enjoy the rays a large hole was sliced into the roof and filled with a sliding ragtop.
Photo 9/12   |   As if the two-tone treatment-complete with Viper Blue flames awash in demonic skulls-wasn't enough, Kevin had the truck pinstriped in baby blue and lime green to really set off the color mix. The final design meets here on the completely shaved tailgate.Alligator and tan leather fight to cover most parts of the interior. Everything you see was once gray and the AutoToyz crew made the swap with the wave of a magic wand.
Gray seems to be most people's choice of interior colors, except when it comes to hot-rods. Then, tans and crmes become the norm. As it were, this once wreck of a truck sported gray fittings from the assembly line, but it was determined to be inadequate for the truck's new image. Being the all-encompassing shop they are, AutoToyz set thread to leather and created a new truck interior. Tan leather with brown baby alligator inserts now covers the seats. A slick headliner was done to match and factory tan door panels were set off with more of the archaic beast's flesh. Any other leftover items, which were not already tan, were hunted down and replaced with matching counterparts. To bring some shine inward, a few billet items were hung along with a shifter handle that tops the five-speed linkage over a 'gator shift boot. Tunes are a necessity when cruising, dragging, and when generally out and about, so the Frontier was upfitted with an aural brigade. A Pioneer head triggers a Memphis Audio multi-channel amplifier jacking up the speaker signals. Kicker component separates fill the doors, while dual 10-inch Memphis subwoofers bang the lows from their custom enclosure in the extra portion of the cab.
Kevin and the crew at AutoToyz Kustomz build vehicles to drive, and drive them they do. It is pretty much an anti-trailer establishment, filled with the know-how and can-do attitude to tackle any job. They even have a couple of 'bagged Mercedes-Benz cars rolling around. Special thanks go to Kevin's staff and friends, Dave the Wave, Leonard, and Daniel. We can't wait to see what they come up with next.



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