Words: Kristie Real
Photos: Dale Martin
As owner of Cali Customs in Oklahoma, Jarrod Muck knows the importance of great builds. Not only do they show off the skills and talents of your team, but they also help carve out a name for yourself within the industry. To show what his crew at Cali Customs was capable of, Jarrod was on a mission to fabricate something that spoke volumes of the kind of hard work that his team prides themselves on.
“Our main goal was to build a truly detailed truck, from top to bottom, which was different on every level than what’s currently seen on most lifted trucks,” he describes. “We didn’t want to create some stock frame that’s full of holes and was just powder coated to look nice. Our idea of a show truck and SEMA build is what you would typically see with the custom crowd – details galore and absurd attention to even the smallest things.”
While the project didn’t come to fruition until recently, it really started as a conversation between Jarrod and one of his good friends, Jimbo Taylor. When they found the right time to do it, they both agreed to go all in and finally made good on that promise in 2017. Because everyone was already building Fords, Chevys and Ram trucks, Jarrod decided to go a different route to achieve his goal of standing out among a sea of other custom trucks when he would showcase the rig at SEMA. The Titan XD was the perfect blank canvas to achieve this goal and Jimbo pulled the trigger on the purchase. Although the truck needed to be strictly for show, it also needed to be 100% driveable, so all of its mods and parts needed to look good and function.
“At the time, you didn’t see many trucks with a copper suspension, and the factory Nissan Blue was so beautiful to begin with, we saved quite a bit of time avoiding a total repaint,” Jarrod admits about the start of the build. Once the color scheme was set, it was time to sit down with Robbie at Keg Media to get the ball rolling on the rest of the work. “The final product was about 98% the same to the initial rendering, aside from the drop cradle,” he mentions. “We knew what products to use based on the current popular trends and what we sell on a daily basis at our shop.”
With everything in motion, Jarrod started with the suspension first, given it’s one of the highlights for the Titan. “My right hand man Brad Gaines came up with the suspension design and made it all happen.” Using Currie Johnny joints and 1-1/4 QA1 heims on all steering components and track bars, Brad created a set up that could take a beating off-road (of course, if you weren’t worried about the intensive paint work, Jarrod adds). While working on the suspension Brad filled in 116 holes while also adding a custom transmission mount and two other custom crossmembers for added rigidity. Then, it’s all suspended using Fox Racing 2.5 coilovers and 2.5 triple bypasses at all four corners.
According to Jarrod, other notable frame mods include the train horn mount for the eight Hornblaster horns that are neatly hidden (including all the mounting hardware and air lines, with the twin ARB compressors hidden between the cab and bed). Once the welding was done, the cab and drivetrain were then removed before heading off to get the body worked on, smoothed and painted (along with the F-250 front end and rear axles). The Nissan features eighty-six rock lights underneath it and in the grille to highlight all the beautiful fabrication and paint. “We spent an absurd amount of time planning the location of the lights and wiring to make it all tie into the factory harness for an incredibly clean install. “We also had custom limit straps made with pockets sewn into them to hide the ABS wires and brake lines.”
While the outside is stunning, the interior was crafted with the same amount of detail and attention. Sadly, it often gets overlooked, but Jarrod still gets excited talking about the interior details. “We stripped the cab down to nothing, but a dash!” he exclaims. “We then added Stinger sound damping to the floor, roof and doors and got to work creating something one-of-a-kind. A Rockford Fosgate audio system makes the Titan boom with bass, while a custom enclosure matches the black leather and blue Katzkin suede of the seats. Blue accent lighting sets the mood inside and even the steering wheel, door panel armrest and center console were all re-stitched with matching copper thread from Katzkin for a unifying look.” When the build was done, Jarrod was incredibly proud of his team and their effort to really give their all to build this caliber of truck. “It was everything we hoped it would be and was such a fun truck to drive.” Although responses of the build varied, the most asked question was about why a Titan as the base vehicle. Jarrod’s common response was simply, “To be different.” But the rig was a crowd pleaser overall, and the blue and copper color combo was a hit. “Everyone definitely appreciated the level of detail put into it,” Jarrod says. The truck was taken to local shows before it was sold at Barrett Jackson, with all of its profits donated to Camp Kanakuk by owner Jimbo Taylor.