Owner: Taichi Yamamoto
1997 Nissan D22 Double Cab
Hometown: Saitama, Japan
Some trucks come from the factory with a sleek look and fairly decent stance, like the Chevy S-10 for example. This is easily one of the most customized vehicles on the planet due to its factory-given good looks.
It doesn't take much to customize and get the S-10s looking even better. But some vehicles just aren't as lucky. Their stock appearance isn't designed for good looks or the custom crowd. Some trucks are actually spit out of the factory for use as work trucks (go figure), or even worse, the factory tries to "customize" its pickup line, giving us stock trucks that look even worse than before.
Here's the Ugly Duckling before...
Here's the Ugly Duckling before it became a swan.
That's where the story of this Ugly Duckling begins. Taichi Yamamoto from Saitama, Japan, bought this 1997 Nissan D22 Double Cab brand-new from the factory as the limited-edition "Skystar" model with a factory body kit (like the one pictured here in the feature). This was his very first minitruck and he purchased it with the intent of it being his work truck as he is a home builder/carpenter. After a while of putting the truck through the ringer as his work truck, Taichi decided that he wanted it be lower. Not yet familiar with the ins and outs of "cool," he took his truck to be 'bagged with the factory body kit still intact. Taichi slowly became more and more interested in minitrucks, so he began to attend a few shows around Japan and he quickly realized his truck had a long way to go if he wanted to compete with the best custom minitrucks of Japan.
Knowing that he would need a lot of help from a shop with style this time around, Taichi brought his truck to Flips custom shop in Saitama, Japan. They have 'bagged and body-dropped a ton of minitrucks and have even had a couple featured here in MT. Now that his truck was in good hands, Taichi was able to ditch the ugly duckling status and the factory body kit. With help from Flips, Taichi's Nissan was on the ground in no time and was slowly turning into the swan that it was destined to become. Over the past few years, Taichi has turned into a full-blown minitrucker, and even though his truck was fully painted he continues to make more modifications to take it to the next level. He added the King Cab bed, and most recently (after these photos were taken) he swapped out the front fascia for Nissan Xterra headlights and grille.
Even though we are thousands of miles apart, Japanese minitruckers still share the same passion and dedication as the minitruckers here in the States. Once they attend their first show, they are instantly hooked and work toward turning their own ugly ducklings into the swans that they envision. Maybe we're not so different after all? Stay tuned for more of the some of the world's baddest minitrucks as we continue to bring you the best of the best from around the planet! For more information on Taichi's Hardbody, check out The Lowdown.
Wheels Front: 18x8 Kruz Wheels
Wheels Rear: 19x8 Kruz Wheels
Tires Front: 215/35R18 Nankang
Tires Rear: 215/35R19 Nankang
Suspension Type: Air
Front Suspension: Drop spindles and Firestone 'bags
Rear Suspension: Custom-built reverse four-link with Firestone 'bags
Compressors: Two Thomas
Air Accessories: Two three-gallon chrome air tanks
Frame Mods: Extended rear about 18 inches to install the King Cab bed
Brakes: Five-lug conversion using Nissan Cedric brakes
Performed By: Flips in Saitama, Japan
Shaved: Gas door and roll pan
Body-dropped: 31/2 inches
Front End: Billet grille insert (now it has a full Nissan Xterra front end conversion)
Taillights: LED taillights
Performed By: Flips in Saitama, Japan
Brand and Colors: Sunset Orange, from Nissan 350Z
Performed By: Kohara Auto in Saitama, Japan
Seats: Stock modified and wrapped in leather
Dash and Door Panels: Smoothed and painted to match body color
Misc: B.A.D. billet steering wheel with half-wrap
Performed By: Accel Custom Shop in Saitama, Japan
Special Thanks from Owner
"Trux Japan for parts supply, Flips for making my mild truck wild, Accel custom shop for the interior."