If you endeavored into the world of custom trucks, where is the first place you'd turn to get fresh new ideas on how to make it unique? Exactly, the World's Leading Truck Publication, and that was the creative thinking behind the team at Suzuki when they contacted us to build them a wild street truck. Starting life as a basic, bone-stock, low-buck '09 Suzuki Equator, Truckin's Project Street Shark wasn't going to turn any heads at a stoplight. Creating a custom sport truck from a fresh-off-the-assembly-line new product is a huge undertaking, as manufacturers don't have new parts readily available and many companies are leery to invest in new tooling for a small niche. Thankfully, we teamed with several leading part suppliers for a custom truck whirlwind that sent this truck straight to the Chicago Auto Show's center stage in only five weeks.
In the last three issues, we've shown you how this Equator came together, but we failed to mention the intense stress that came with trying to accomplish this task in just over a month. Delivered to our headquarters a week before Christmas, we made a promise to Suzuki that we'd have the truck completed and ready to be transported by January 30, the clock was ticking and we didn't know what to expect. Our newest project truck was a base model Suzuki Equator extended cab, equipped with a 152hp, 2.5L four-cylinder--providing a nice bang for the buck. The price tag for our Equator was $19,200 and the truck returned an average of 20.6 mpg, but what wasn't so nice was the absence of parts available for the Suzuki. Designed to haul or tow Suzuki's lineup of motorcycles, quads, and personal watercraft, the Equator is basically a rebadged and refreshed Nissan Frontier. Problem was, there is a large aftermarket void in parts for the four-cylinder Frontier/Equator and only lift kits are available. We opted to make motorcycle/quad access to the bed easier and in doing so, the Equator received improved handling for on-road excitement.
Turning to our friends at the Custom Truck Shop, in San Dimas, California, an AIM lowering kit was bolted on. Using adjustable front struts, the Suzuki quickly took a 2-inch nosedive and out back, the guys at the Custom Truck Shop de-arched the leaf springs to bring down the rear a total of four inches. No drop kit is complete without new rolling attire, and for our in-house project, we went big. Giovanna DBL-G 505 wheels in matte black were bolted onto the Equator and measure a wheelwell-filling 22x9 inches. Keeping pace with the new lowered suspension, Nitto NT-420S tires, sized 265/35R22, ensure the Suzuki maintains traction at all times. Stopping power comes from Stillen cross-drilled performance rotors--a great bolt-on that doesn't break the bank. Our mid-size truck now had the handling to entertain any motorcycle rider or quad fan, but it still had the factory looks that didn't raise any pulses. To remedy this shortcoming, a quick trip to L&G Enterprises, also in San Dimas, was made. Four weeks to go and the days seemed to be getting shorter.