The Goal Was Simple: Create One Badass Titan!
Billy Weekley from Apopka, Florida, became involved in the truck scene after buying his brand new 1987 Toyota pickup. A pro BMX racer, Billy’s mini was the perfect bike hauler. About that same time, he met a guy with a lowered Toyota truck and liked the look. Before long, he started going to shows and, within a very short time, became intrigued with the slammed truck scene. He joined a few different truck clubs before starting his own club, Hardcore, in 1989.
Now in its thirtieth year, this delightful band of stand-up hooligans is still a very close-knit family and always active in the club scene. Billy has owned more than a dozen custom trucks since that first Toyota, but his new Titan is the best of the bunch.
“I wanted to step up the game,” he told us. “My goal was to build one of the most badass Nissan Titans out there.”
An effective strategy for climbing to the top of the heap is to rely on talented professionals. Jimmy Graham of Jimmy’s Rod & Customs in Edgewater, Florida, specializes in suspension and metal fabrication. Over the years, his artistry has been featured in more than a dozen magazines with several of his vehicles gracing the cover. Jimmy and Billy go back a decade or two, so it was natural for them to collaborate on the design. Jimmy had all the chassis elements already established and was eager to get started. The final voting member, Billy’s wife Kelly, is an equally avid enthusiast, so with three yeses, the project began in earnest.
The brand-new 2018 Nissan Titan Crew Cab had just 750 miles on it when the teardown began. (Billy says, “We don’t need no stinkin’ warranties!”) There was also little need for conversation since Jimmy and his right-hand man, Tim Haywood, already had a proven plan that Billy was on board with. The goal was simple: Create a stock floor body drop laid out on 26-inch wheels.
While easy to describe, the process was as ambitious as it was complicated. The entire Titan chassis was removed and a new one created from 3/16 steel stock, CNC cut and MIG welded on a custom frame table. Shop-fabricated upper and lower A-arms along with unique dropped spindles upgraded the front suspension while the four-link rear was stabilized with a Watts linkage. Jimmy and Tim crafted a new fuel tank to fit the available space and squeezed in dual battery trays. Custom compressor and tank mounts now hold four Viair 444 compressors and an 8-gallon reserve tank under the bed. In addition to the quartet of KYB Excel-G gas shocks, Air Lift Dominator 2600 bags on each corner use an AccuAir manifold that’s plumbed with artfully routed 3/8-inch stainless steel hard lines and connected to an AccuAir e-Level controller. The setup can dump nearly a foot off the Titan’s profile at the touch of a button.
To clear the 26-inch Intro “Lince” rims and 30-series Pirelli rubber, custom inner fender panels were created in the engine room along with bead-rolled tubs in the rear. The bed floor was raised 7 inches over stock to clear the new chassis mods and tinted-to-match Bullet Liner was sprayed on the new floor. The only original items left under the truck were the factory ABS brakes and the rear end, although it’s been narrowed 4.5 inches on each side. The finished chassis is a combination of engineering and art that encourages you to get on your hands and knees to admire the full plated frame and color-matched components that are powdercoated in designer green and silver. More importantly, with seriously good handling, steamroller-wide rubber and the stout motor under the hood, the Titan has autocross written all over it, maybe opening up surprising new levels of enjoyment in the future.
The exterior of the truck has a sense of purposeful minimalism; it is clearly recognizable as a Titan but enhanced with dozens of small details. The license plate frame was eliminated from the front bumper and the bumper painted to match the body. The mirrors were smoothed and painted, the pillars between the dark tinted side windows were painted black for a continuous look, and the frame around the sliding back window was also smoothed and painted black. The taillights were smoked, the tailgate handles were color-matched and the bed rails were painted body color. Green was added to the Nissan lettering on the crest because Kelly loves Kelly green. The shade was a perfect complement to the Nissan K23 Silver.
Under the hood, the Nissan 5.6L V-8 and seven speed overdrive automatic were already a powerhouse, pumping out a respectable 390 horsepower. Quick enough in stock form, the only performance changes were the twin pipes on the 2.5-inch system. A fabricated custom oil pan accommodates the new front suspension along with a custom brake booster, proportioning valve and custom intake. Ultimate Auto provided the paint details on the fuse cover, motor cover and intake, while Tom Hingle at Billet & Acrylic Fantasies made the billet intake cover with the engraved Hardcore logo. Tom also did the antenna and gas hood struts. The new inner fender panels were painted to match the exterior with subtle silver stone shields around all four wheel wells. Grip is automatically improved when yards of rubber are crammed into the wheel wells, and everyone agreed that the 26-inch wheels were the right choice, with the Intro “Lince” design featuring a distinctive wide lip at the rear.
Moving inside, the latest upgrades to the truck are the black perforated leather seats from the Katzkin Barracuda collection, sporting classic green, double diamond stitching. Rich and Robbie at American Radio did the install. After doing so much underneath, interior upgrades are the next priority with matching door panels and an elaborate stereo on the short list.
While the truck will probably be a work in progress until the day it is sold, it has also become the perfect long-distance cruiser. Billy, Kelly and son Kyle are in the Titan at every opportunity, enjoying the show scene at events as far away as Texas and Alabama. The goal was to make this one of the nicest Nissan Titans out there, and it was only possible thanks to a long list of friends who gave their time and talents to the build. Of course, it helps that Billy has been in the scene for more than three decades and knows virtually everyone on the East Coast.
How quickly Jimmy and Bill completed this Titan is a story in itself. While time might be the enemy of yellow bananas and pop music stardom, they didn’t waste a minute, finishing the transformation of this Pro Badass truck in a lightning-quick three months. The skilled professionals involved get special thanks for their dedication and innovation, while closer to home, nobody gets more thanks than Billy’s loving wife, Kelly!
2018 Nissan Titan
Nissan 5.6L V-8 with 390 horsepower
Seven speed overdrive automatic
Custom air intake with Hardcore logo
Custom oil pan adapted to the new front suspension
Custom brake booster and proportioning valve
Fuse cover, motor cover and intake painted body color by Ultimate Auto, Orlando, Florida
Billet intake cover, antenna, and hood struts by Tom Hingle at Billet & Acrylic Fantasies, Vero Beach, Florida.
Custom inner fender panels painted to match
Subtle silver stone shields in the wheel wells
Custom frame 3/16-inch plate steel, CNC cut and MIG welded
Custom upper and lower A-arms
Custom dropped spindles
Custom four-link with Watts linkage.
Four KYB Excel-G, Twin Tube, Nitrogen filled shocks
Air Lift Dominator 2600 bags
Four Viair 444 compressors, 100% duty cycle
8-gallon reserve tank
AccuAir e-Level controller
Custom fuel tank
Custom compressor and reserve tank mounts
Dual Duralast Platinum batteries
WHEELS & TIRES:
Intro “Lince” rims, 26×9 front and 26×10 rear
Pirelli rubber 295/30/26 front and 305/30/26 rear
BODY AND PAINT
All body work performed by Jimmy’s Rod & Customs, Edgewater, Florida
Stock floor body drop
Bed floor raised seven inches to accommodate the air suspension
Bullet Liner bed liner
Factory Nissan K23 Silver
Frame and suspension components powdercoated in designer green and silver.
Bumper and accents painted by Ultimate Auto, Orlando, Florida
Katzkin black leather
Green double diamond stitching
Installed by Rich and Robbie at American Radio.
SPECIAL THANKS FROM THE OWNER: Thanks begin with Jimmy Graham and Tim Haywood at Jimmy’s Rod & Customs; Derek, Mark, Imran and all the guys at Ultimate Auto; the guys at American Radio; Peter Matyko at Katzkins; Marshall Bishop at Bullet Liner of Winter Springs; Tom Hingle at Billet & Acrylic Fantasies; the crew at Jenkins Nissan of Leesburg, Florida; Mike Shinn, John Bartolotta and the guys at Reed Nissan in Orlando, Florida; Larry Nichols at LN Window Tinting; and especially his supportive wife, Kelly.