"Lola" - WreckDiver1321's 2005 Frontier CC/SB Nismo Build and Adventure Thread

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
One thing of note, that everyone should learn, despite how horrible Facebook is, it's also a great source for finding local 4wd groups or vehicle specific groups should you have a problem in that area. Spot on contacting the NORAC people here in Colorado and Bill. There are a couple of 4wd shops in Ouray, but, being the time of year you were there, it can be difficult to get ahold of some of them. Luckily you were able to get towed into Montrose, there's a couple shops there as well as a Nissan dealer.
Bill and some of the other guys from NORAC were AWESOME. I cannot thank them enough for all the help they provided. I'm not on Facebook, but all of that contact initially happened through Instagram, which helped me a lot.

Yeah, it was mostly unfortunate timing more than anything. Had it happened a few days earlier we likely could have salvaged our original trip plans. Thankfully the shop in Montrose did a good job and were very amicable when they knew my position. Great group of guys. It all worked out for the best in the end.
 

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
We left the following morning and headed north, aiming for Denver. We followed Highway 24 north, through the awesome and mostly deserted scenery around Granite and Leadville. We chose the longer route and kept on 24 to Red Cliff, which we felt warranted a quick detour. It was a very picturesque little mountain town hidden in a gap in the mountains. We tooled around for a brief time, investigating the town and taking in the sights. Though Red Cliff is a bit run-down and ramshackle, it looks to be on the upswing. New homes are being built and the area is being renovated. We resolved to check back in a few years and see what it looks like.







We eventually hooked up with I70 and headed east for a brief period before taking a look at the upscale skiing town of Vail. This was a totally different Colorado than we had experienced during the rest of the trip. Massive homes overlooked a European-styled planned walking city boasting shops and restaurants of every style, flavor, and budget. We dubbed it a "Timex-to-Rolex" town where everything was on offer, and everything was easy to get to thanks to a massive public transportation infrastructure. It had a feeling that reminded me of Bern, Switzerland, or possibly a caricature of that type of city. While I love the back end of nowhere, I do like the opportunity to see places like this as well. There's something charming about visiting, though I'd never want to live anywhere near there.

We had lunch in a sandwich shop and made our way back to our Subaru. Hopping back on I70 with lots of time to reach Denver, we opted for a side trip to stroll through downtown Breckenridge. While still a ski town like Vail, Breckenridge had a completely different feel. Where Vail is modern and neopolitan, Breckenridge evokes an old west mountain town. It felt to me much like Cooke City, Red Lodge, Whitefish, or Bozeman in Montana, the kind of place I was used to walking and checking out the shops. It was a fun detour and a great contrast to the neatness of Vail.

After our visit, we looped back up to I70 and drove through the winding mountain passes on our way to Denver. We were passed like we were standing still by a red Ferrari 458, which I ogled as it thundered by. Shortly after, a massive rain swept through and turned I70 into a large creek, which caused me to pass the very same Ferrari some time later. We climbed over the mountains and through the insanely cool Eisenhower tunnel before being deposited in Lakewood. As planned, we located our AirBnB and settled in for the night before my parents were due to arrive for the wedding the next day.
 

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
The next day, we used our time to visit some of Denver's sights. We took our little family to the Denver Science Museum, we wandered around downtown, and we visited a place that has been on my list for more than a decade: the Clive Cussler Car Museum in Arvada. Clive Cussler has been my favorite author since I first discovered one of his books in middle school. I developed a love for scuba diving, dive watches, nautical history, and shipwrecks because of him. I fell in love with his adventure novels and now own every book he's ever written. I named my oldest son after the hero in his main series. So this was somewhat of a pilgrimage for me. Glistening paint and chrome everywhere, along with a few references to his books and nautical history work. What a cool place.



















The remainder of the trip was a blur of family, drinks, celebrations, and socializing. We went to the wedding, spent time with my family, and generally had a great time. Our trusty rented Subaru took us home to Montana without a hitch. It was a trip where absolutely nothing went to plan, and although it was frustrating, it made it a great adventure for us.

Unfortunately, this is where Lola's adventuring stories end, not with a bang, but with a whimper. She never saw another trail or long, dusty backroad while I owned her. She never climbed another rock or camped somewhere beautiful. Colorado was her swan song for my ownership, a memory of beautiful scenery and rugged country greatly marred by the memories of breakage and hardship. It's not the way I expected this relationship to end, but the realities of what I needed vs. what Lola was had come to roost. And that was that.
 

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
EPILOGUE, Part 1

The next two years found a myriad of changes. We continued to explore, but in different ways. We witnessed the awesome annual Pond Hockey tournament in Seeley Lake.



My son celebrated his first birthday.



We flew to Florida to visit family and relax in the sun.



We visited familiar mountains with my wife's Crosstrek.







We returned to Seeley Lake for a 4th of July celebration and announced our 2nd child.



We hiked. A lot.















Beret's Subaru took us to one of our top five sunsets and helped us chase unbelievable light in the Beartooth Mountains.





We climbed mountains in the dark.



Eventually, we brought home our newest baby, Bram A. Newpower.



And visited Seeley Lake shortly after.



Life carried on. We figured out how to adventure without Lola. We bought a roof box for the Crosstrek and figured out how to pack it. We worked on getting our debts down. I finished college and got a new job with the American arm of the Bank of Montreal. COVID hit and locked us in our house. We streamlined our finances, paid off just about everything, and started aggressively saving. As spring hit, we added another car to the stable as a daily driver for me. Gladys is a 1998 Subaru Outback with nearly 260,000 miles that I paid $700 for. It's the perfect everyday commuter car, something I can use to save wear and tear on my trip vehicle. I spent some time and money getting it sorted and running well.



Shortly after I got Gladys working well for daily use, I began a long stretch of prep work on Lola. I removed a lot of parts that I would carry over, I fixed everything that needed fixing, and I began the process of detailing the truck. It was time to let her go for good.
 

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
EPILOGUE, Part 2

It was time to prepare Lola to be sold on to her new home. I started by pulling the bumper lights, the air compressor, the tablet and phone mount, the car seats, and a few other things. I emptied all the storage bins and pulled off all the stickers. For aesthetics sake, I moved the locker switch to the left side of the steering wheel and wired in the rear bumper lights with a dash switch, now completing the aftermarket switches in the dash and making everything look a little better. I cleaned underneath the truck and painted the frame. I changed the oil and put in new filters. I stripped the rock sliders and ground out the scratches before completely repainting them. Then I bought a buffer and detailing supplies and gave the entire exterior a solid clean and coat of wax before doing a deep clean and detail of the interior. As a final touch we replaced the cracked and pitted windshield. Then, she was posted for sale, clean as she's ever been.











After a couple of months for sale, I got a full-price offer from a young college kid in (of all places) Whitefish. we were scheduled to visit Seeley Lake 10 days after he called and offered to buy it, so I told him I would be glad to drive it up and deliver it to him in Bigfork. I got the title paperwork and bill of sale ready, and we drove two cars up to Seeley.



Monday afternoon we set off on what was to be my final drive in Lola. And what a drive it was. The warm summer afternoon in the mountains, surrounded by a place I loved taking the truck, and a full 90 minutes of nothing but me and her alone together on our last ever trip. There was something poetic about the whole thing. Something fitting. Something that made sense. It was a brilliant send off, and my final time parking and removing the keys was more emotional than I expected.











I recorded the final mileage as 206,848. I drove this truck for six years and 95,321 miles.

I met Devin, the new owner, and took a quick test drive. He was impressed and extremely excited to get to own this new vehicle. I walked him through everything he needed to know and everything that was specific to this truck. I gave him part numbers for things that he might want to add or change, and he loved all the things I had done. He happily handed over the money, and I handed him the keys with a sad finality. His excitement and happiness brings me hope though. Hope that he will take Lola places and do things with her that I put her together for. He promised to beat on her and take her to some amazing scenery, and I feel like that's exactly the justice she deserves.



This is the last picture I ever took of my truck, though it has been seen driving around Whitefish, Kalispell, and Missoula. This is Devin, the new owner, and myself shortly before I drove away from Lola for the last time. It seems as though she has gone to a great new owner who will take her amazing places. That's all a guy can ask, really.

The sale of the truck allowed us to completely pay off my wife's Crosstrek and begin aggressively saving for my new project, which I have recently acquired.

So, there you have it. Thus ends my story with Lola, the 2005 Nissan Frontier. From a college kid living with his girlfriend to married banker and father of two. From stock truck to overland tourer, and everything in between. It's been an awesome ride, and I am so glad that you guys have joined me on it. I appreciate your continued reading and support, and I encourage everyone to keep looking through the thread and asking questions. I'll poke my head in from time to time and make sure I answer anything lingering. But otherwise, thank you. I hope you all have enjoyed it as much as I have.

Happy trails!
 

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
Sad to see her go, but glad to see it’ll still get used right. Curious what the next project is going to be? Any teasers?
The new build is a classic! Something with proven overland and offroad chops and a track record of durability.

I wanted to do a build that addressed many of the problems I had with Lola. While the truck did what I needed it to do, it was not the right starting point for what I need now. I need reliability, capability, and capacity. Lola was reliable to start, but the added weight compromised the durability when fully loaded with my whole family. Her baseline capability was severely limited because of the long wheelbase and terrible ground clearance. Adding the lift and tires also compromised durability. The cab was way too tight once kids were thrown in the mix. The rear storage was sizeable, but never fully sealed from water or dust.

So I needed something durable that could handle the weight and size of the stuff I was bringing while being able to handle the terrain I was going to be taking it to.

I kicked around several ideas, from a 7.3l Excursion to a 2nd Gen Tundra, and even briefly toyed with the idea of a Mitsubishi Delica. But at the end of the day, it was an obvious choice.
 

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bigskypylot

Explorer
One thing of note, that everyone should learn, despite how horrible Facebook is, it's also a great source for finding local 4wd groups or vehicle specific groups should you have a problem in that area. Spot on contacting the NORAC people here in Colorado and Bill. There are a couple of 4wd shops in Ouray, but, being the time of year you were there, it can be difficult to get ahold of some of them. Luckily you were able to get towed into Montrose, there's a couple shops there as well as a Nissan dealer.
If I recall, Tom, did I get you in touch with Bill? 😆 I'm glad this all worked out and catching up on your trip! Great narration and photos!
 

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
WOW, so sad to see the Fronty go! It was an amazing inspiration for my own build. I'm sure the adventures will continue with the new rig though! Congrats!
It was tough to see it go, I'll be honest. It was really emotional. Driving it into that parking lot was so final and so difficult. That truck saw the birth of both of my kids, I met Clay Croft in it, I drove to my wedding in it, it took us on our honeymoon, and all sorts of other things. I learned a lot on it and took it to some amazing places. But it was time for the change.

The Frontier was a great rig, but there came a point that I was reducing the reliability and longevity of the truck by trying to overcome the inherent problems with the platform for my purposes, especially with kids in the mix. It was starting to show its limitations.

The new rig needs some cleanup and some updating to get it up to snuff. But the drivetrain and interior are so robust and in such good shape that they will likely last forever. I already love the Land Cruiser platform. It's such a useful size, and it's hilariously overbuilt. It's nice to drive and feels like a tank. I can't wait to get it up to my standards and start building on it.

If I recall, Tom, did I get you in touch with Bill? 😆 I'm glad this all worked out and catching up on your trip! Great narration and photos!
I think you're right! That helped me out A LOT.

Thanks man! It was a wild ride, one that I probably wouldn't change if I were to go back and do it again. I learned a lot and made a lot of mistakes, but it's given me some great experience. A lot of lessons will carry forward into this next project.
 

wreckdiver1321

Overlander
Here's a better look at the new "ultimate overland" build at her starting point. It's a 2003 Toyota Land Cruiser 100 Series, with 156k on the odometer. It runs like a dream, it's never been in an accident, and the interior is in near perfect condition. It does have a few issues with body and frame rust, but those are being addressed now.







 

bigskypylot

Explorer
It was tough to see it go, I'll be honest. It was really emotional. Driving it into that parking lot was so final and so difficult. That truck saw the birth of both of my kids, I met Clay Croft in it, I drove to my wedding in it, it took us on our honeymoon, and all sorts of other things. I learned a lot on it and took it to some amazing places. But it was time for the change.

The Frontier was a great rig, but there came a point that I was reducing the reliability and longevity of the truck by trying to overcome the inherent problems with the platform for my purposes, especially with kids in the mix. It was starting to show its limitations.

The new rig needs some cleanup and some updating to get it up to snuff. But the drivetrain and interior are so robust and in such good shape that they will likely last forever. I already love the Land Cruiser platform. It's such a useful size, and it's hilariously overbuilt. It's nice to drive and feels like a tank. I can't wait to get it up to my standards and start building on it.



I think you're right! That helped me out A LOT.

Thanks man! It was a wild ride, one that I probably wouldn't change if I were to go back and do it again. I learned a lot and made a lot of mistakes, but it's given me some great experience. A lot of lessons will carry forward into this next project.
Yeah that was quite a boondoggle there with the location and timing of everything. Just glad you got it back on the road in a timely matter and now it's on to another good owner so it seems!

Really looking forward to the progress of this build and the journeys it will take you and your family on. Now I got the LC/GX/LX bug. Thanks!
 
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