Nissan Titan Custom - Flawless
Endless Pursuit of Perfection
Working hard is a testament to a person's character. Slackers are rarely promoted past do-boys and the old adage of bringing your lunchbox to work everyday can prove rewarding when it comes time to move up. When we asked Khamla Seelapasay, the builder and owner of this month's cover Nissan Titan, what this truck meant to him, he paused briefly then replied, "this truck is testimony to my hard work, perseverance, and passion for great custom builds." Those words shouldn't come across as boasting, Khamla isn't the "hey everybody look at me" kind of guy, rather those words were the look inside at the character of a man who genuinely loves creating wild rides. Wondering why a Titan is on the cover? Take a closer look at his Lamborghini Nova Blue Titan and if you're not convinced it's a cover-worthy truck, check your pulse.
We asked Khamla why he chose a Titan of all the trucks around and his straight-to-the-point response was "I didn't see many of them at shows and there were only two that were really custom." Seems like a good reason to us. Straying from the norm, a new Nissan Titan was purchased in April of '06 and a game plan was created to really make his ride different. Tearing into the new truck, Khamla and Kase Thephavongsa, his partner at Kustomz Unlimited Inc. in Garland, Texas, began by first removing the factory front and rear Titan suspensions. Up front, a complete suspension from a '00 Chevy fullsize truck was welded into place. McGaughy's 2-inch drop spindles were mounted to tubular Air Ride Technologies Strong Arms upper and lower control arms. A modified sway bar connects the front arms, while Slam Specialties RE8 airbags, along with QA1 adjustable shocks bring the front end down low. The front was now handled, but Khamla wanted a rear setup that would really have people talking.
In the rear, the duo at Kustomz Unlimited got creative when they welded up an entire tubular back-half out of 2-inch DOM and 11/4-inch tubing. Adding to the complexity and custom nature of the truck, an independent rear suspension from a Nissan Armada was welded to the rear tubing. To get the bed to lay hard, custom upper and lower A-arms were fabbed up and a cantilever setup up was created. Using Air Ride Technologies Shockwave airbags, the 'bags push on bars that in turn push on the lower arms and raise the rear suspension. This enables plenty of lift in the rear and also created a tricked-out look. Providing the air, two 5-gallon tanks were plumbed with 1/2-inch air line and connected to GC Outlaw valves. To accommodate the rear setup, a custom 22-gallon fuel cell was created. With one flip of the switch, the Titan's body gently kisses the Texas tarmac.
Wheel selection is always vital to any custom build and when it came time to place an order for rollers, Khamla once again went away from the norm. Beautiful 26-inch Lexani CS-2 wheels in flat black were ordered and mounted inside 305/30R26 Hankook tires. The look is absolutely mean and perfectly complements the Titan's subtle and clean style. Having big wheels on each corner left Khamla with no choice but to upgrade the braking hardware and huge 16-inch Rotora big brakes with eight-piston aluminum calipers and stainless lines were added up front. Peering behind the Lexani wheels, the brakes add an element of performance many builders overlook. Speaking of performance, the 5.6L V-8 received a custom air intake, JBA black ceramic headers, and a JBA exhaust that was customized to run the entire length of the truck and exit out custom tips in the roll pan that Khamla fabbed up himself. How many custom 'bagged trucks have full-length exhaust systems? We haven't seen too many. Under the hood, an electric fan conversion found its way behind the radiator and a custom sheetmetal fan shroud was created, along with a sheetmetal engine cover that was painted to match. Paint was next on the to-do list, but before a drop could be applied, the guys at Kustomz Unlimited wanted to change a thing or two on the body.
Taking one glance at the Titan, you'll notice a frontend conversion. Chevy has Caddy clips, Ford has Navigator swaps, and now Nissan has an Infinity QX56 conversion. With the all-steel panels in place, Khamla cut fender vents into the front fenders and filled them with unique billet pieces. Once the QX56 front bumper and grille shell were mounted, the hood had to be extended to accommodate the custom billet grilles that were cut and fitted to the shells. To add an import look to the frontend, Khamla fabbed up a front aluminum chin splitter. The look is subtle and makes you do a double-take, a theme found throughout the build. Continuing the custom appeal, the rear Crew Cab doors received the suicide treatment and everything deemed not worthy was shaved off the Titan.
Often times, the truck's bed is shaved up and considered done, but Kustomz Unlimited opted to spend hundreds of hours perfecting a truly unique Titan bed. Starting with the gas filler door, it was relocated higher and modified with a Hagan's filler. A custom-built roll pan was welded in place to properly fit the exhaust tips and rather than just smooth out the tailgate, Khamla cut a notch out of the tailgate and capped off the inside cut areas. On top of the tailgate, a small spoiler was created and welded in place and then the inside of the tailgate received aluminum strips to add a look of elegance. Everything was ground smooth to perfection, including the bed caps, bed floor and walls, and custom wheeltubs with cut-outs. Style isn't typically a word associated with wheeltubs, but on this build, the amount of detail paid to every part is incredible.
Paint was an area of major concern for Kustomz Unlimited, as they did not have a paint booth in their shop and after spending so much time perfecting the body, the color and application process had to be spot-on. New Concepts in Plano, Texas, was the paint and body shop selected to add color to the Titan. There, PPG Global Lamborghini Nova Blue was applied to every nook and cranny of the truck. New Concepts also sprayed the black stripe on the hood and pinstriped it in red. A black stripe is a simple addition and that is exactly what Khamla was going for. This wild ride was laid out, painted, and sporting big wheels, but as the shop's centerpiece of customization, Kustomz Unlimited decided to do a little something inside the four doors as well.
Hitting the remote and opening the doors reveals an interior that makes everyone say "Wow." Yanking the dash out, it was smoothed and painted, but not before receiving a custom triple-pod housing made out of aluminum that contains KP Components air gauges. A Sparco quick-release steering wheel adds a look of performance, as does the racing seats that were covered in black vinyl and cobalt blue suede. A cobalt blue suede headliner, suede and vinyl-wrapped door panels, and black-vinyl-wrapped console keep the subtle theme alive and well. Magee's Upholstery in Garland is responsible for the stitch work. The handmade center console contains a 10-inch monitor, the air ride switch box, and a Playstation 3. Games, movies, and audio can all be played through the PS3 or the Valor double-din head unit in the dash. These modifications alone would be enough to win a truck show or two, but Khamla wanted to leave jaws on the floor and opted to go big.
Removing the rear Crew Cab seats, Kustomz Unlimited filled the large space with a huge sub box and amp rack combo. MTX was the audio supplier of choice and if you dare sit in the passenger seat, don't say we didn't warn you. Four 12-inch 9500-series MTX subs pound anyone into submission and are powered by four MTX Elite 1501D amps. With enough power to sustain 4,000 watts RMS, the Titan is a rolling bass concert. Two more MTX amps, Elite 1004s, were also mounted to the slope-shaped amp rack and power the MTX TXC 6.1, 5.1, and 4.1 components found in each door. More than 150 blue LEDs were wired and installed throughout the sub/amp enclosure and provide a colorful nighttime show. Streetwires audio cables were used for each speaker, amp, and battery. In case the need arises to watch movies, a 7-inch monitor was installed in the dash to complement the 10-inch in the console, and a 5-inch screen was placed in each seat's headrest, just for show. Powering all of this audio and video mayhem are three Kinetik power cells.
Since the first wrench was turned, it took Khamla and Kase more than 3,000 man-hours to complete the Titan. With that much time and money invested, it's no wonder why every area of the truck was customized. After the photo shoot, we sat down and had some Texas BBQ. Talking only about custom trucks, shops, the scene, and even magazines, it was clear to us that Khamla loves his job of customizing rides. When you can't shut off the creative side of your brain, building an be the outlet needed just to survive. He will never be satisfied with simply working hard, because that isn't an option. What drives the world of custom is the endless pursuit of perfection.