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The Jara Family’s Blue Beast

SHOPPING FOR A BRAND-NEW TRUCK IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING TIMES IN A GUY OR GIRL’S LIFE. Looking for that specific ride that has all the styling cues, features and functions that suit one’s needs provides a thrill like none other. Some look to certain makes and models for their workload capabilities, while others seek out a truck that will be the most fun to play with. Daniel Jara, of Lubbock, Texas, found himself hunting for the perfect pickup five years ago, and he only had two things on his checklist: something a little different that doesn’t get fully customized all too often and a truck big enough to haul his family around in comfort. He skipped right past GM and Ford trucks because they seem to pop up the most at shows. Instead, Daniel dug a little deeper into the world of import full-size haulers, and what he found was a world of potential that’s barely been tapped. Soon after he pulled the trigger on a fresh Toyota Tundra, he found out why people don’t rip into these trucks more often.

NFAMUS AIR SUSPENSION RAISED THE FACTORY AND COATED IT WITH LINE-X TO GIVE IT A CLEAN, ALMOST FACTORY APPEAL.

THE FACTORY TUNDRA INTERIOR FEATURES LEATHER SEATS AND CLEAN LINES, BUT DANIEL PLANS TO MAKE SOME BIG CHANGES SOON.

“The aftermarket doesn’t seem to support the building of a customized Toyota,” Daniel said. “Finding parts for Silverados or F-150s is much easier than finding anything that would work for my truck, but I had already anticipated this from the very start.” It’s a sad state of affairs, but it’s true, when it comes to shopping around for suspension kits or even simple bolt-on accessories, import trucks are often left out of the equation. Why is this? In the market of consumer-grade pickups, Japanese brands are in the minority of trucks bought in the U.S. It’s always been that way, and that has transferred into today’s availability of custom parts. But this situation hasn’t stopped anyone from building what they truly want in the past, and it most certainly won’t stop people now or in the future. Things might progress a little slower, but they definitely won’t stop.

THE FACTORY IFORCE 5.7L IS MATED WITH A TRD SUPERCHARGER IN ADDITION TO A FEW UPGRADES IN THE WAY OF A K&N AIR INTAKE AND OPTIMA BLUE TOP CELL.

Right away, Daniel wanted to do something to his new truck, but all that he could manage was to lower it 2/4. It wasn’t anything too drastic, but it was a step in the right direction. He rocked that mild drop for the first five years of owning his Tundra, but the thought of taking his truck into a new realm of customization was eating away at him almost every day. Without a whole lot of readymade parts to choose from, he knew that a full fabrication job would be in order at some point, which is never a light expenditure, especially for solid, quality craftsmanship that would actually increase the value of his investment over the long haul. Daniel has built a couple of custom vehicles before (an ’83 AMC Spirit and a ’94 Honda Del Sol), but this Tundra would be his first pickup project, and it came at the most perfect time for him. “I wanted something that I could personalize to my standards while still being somewhat different and also roomy enough for me to be able to load my family up. And after some time and work, I was looking forward to being able to take this truck to shows to compete with some of the other ones that I’ve admired throughout the years. The Tundra fit our needs without compromise.”

Luckily for Daniel, Texas is a place rich with talented and trendsetting fabricators and customizers, and his eye for choosing a shop that could deliver everything proved to be keen on quality. When he began scouting for the right place to take his truck, he came across Keith Sawyer at Nfamus Air Suspension. Keith and his crew have an extensive and impressive résumé to their credit, and when it comes to fully fabricated chassis and air suspension work, they’re definitely sitting pretty on the top rung. Considering that Daniel’s truck was a Toyota, heavy, one-off fabrication work was going to have to be poured into it to get it as low and reliable as he wanted. Choosing Nfamus to handle the build was definitely a wise decision, because that caliber of work has become its calling card. “Keith had my truck in his shop for about a year and a half. Parting with my truck for that long was tough, but it paid off big in the long run. I couldn’t have imagined the truck coming out any better than it did when I got it back,” Daniel said with pride.

To get the Tundra as low as it sits now, Keith had to fabricate tubular upper and lower arms from scratch and hand build a set of spindles that would work in unison with them. This presented a more laborintensive process, but these kinds of aftermarket parts just don’t exist for this truck. There’s just no store in the world (brick and mortar or online) that builds and stocks custom suspension parts for the Tundra; it’s what makes Daniel’s project that much more original now that everything is said and done. To get the rear on the ground, Keith cooked up a 3-link with wishbone to clear the factory gas tank while laying down around the 24-inch Asanti wheels Daniel selected. You’d be hard pressed to find another four-door Tundra in this condition anywhere, but it just didn’t pop up overnight. Countless man-hours were spent designing and executing the game plan, and Daniel’s patience and shop selection definitely played a huge role in the final outcome of his build.

“Final” might have been used a little too prematurely for this truck, however, as Daniel already has a few more modifications in mind. “I like the simple look of stock paint, but I am thinking about getting some airbrush work done on top of it. I haven’t landed on any design in particular as of yet, but I’m leaning towards some kind of ghost pattern. And as for the interior, that will change as soon as possible. It’ll get there one day, but for now we are enjoying this truck to the fullest and wouldn’t trade it in for anything else out there.”

TRUCK SPECS

OWNER

Daniel Jara
2010 Toyota Tundra
Lubbock, TX

ENGINE

  • 2010 Toyota IForce 5.7L
  • K&N air filter
  • TRD supercharger
  • MagnaFlow stainless exhaust and muffler

SUSPENSION

  • Shop: Nfamus Air Suspension
  • Custom tubular upper and lower control arms
  • Hand-built spindles
  • Rebuilt tie rods over Heim joints for more adjustability
  • TRD six-piston, 19- inch rotors all around
  • Nfamus Suspension 3-link with wishbone to clear factory gas tank
  • Reworked the whole rear setup to lay on 24s
  • QA1 shocks all the way around
  • Moser axle

WHEELS & TIRES

  • 24-inch Asanti VF wheels
  • 305/35R24 Lexani tires

BODY & PAINT

  • Shop: Nfamus Air Suspension
  • Bed floor raised
  • Line-X liner
  • Custom inner fenders under the hood
  • Factory paint

INTERIOR 

  • Shop: Vision Audio
  • Factory leather seats
  • Alpine X009-TUN head unit
  • JL Audio ZR components
  • JL Audio 13TW5V2 Stealth Box
  • JL Audio HD1200, JLHD600/4 amps
  • Optima Blue Top cell

SPECIAL THANKS FROM THE OWNER: “Thanks to my family for supporting me during this build, to my wife Lucinda and my son Daniel, Rick Swetnam, Chris White, Jesse Paez in the service department, Anthony Salas at Gene Messer parts department for all the help, Keith Sawyer and the guys at Nfamus Air Suspension for all the suspension and bed work.”

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