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Top Gear Philippines

Stock to Rock: Drew Arellano's pickup gets a makeover

When Drew Arellano of Biyahe Ni Drew needed a new pickup truck, he knew he wanted one that would suit his triathlete lifestyle. While the Ford Ranger does that duty well, he simply couldn't leave it alone. Which is what brought him to Sam Liuson and Arvin Lim at Wheel Gallery.

"I've noticed a trend," says Sam. "There's a rise in trucks that come into our shop. People's preferences have been changing because of the extreme weather we've been experiencing. They're modifying their trucks to cope with the weather and to go to places where there aren't good roads."

As Drew is a triathlete, he has equipped his truck with a Thule rack for his bikes and a Carryboy roller-cover to keep his equipment dry. To enable Drew to reach remote trails and shooting locations, Arvin has equipped it with a Bilstein Lift Kit, with uprated front springs, drop shackles out back and longer travel gas-charged shock absorbers.

"People think other off-road shocks are better because they're physically bigger," says Arvin. "But Bilstein's monotube design gives more fluid capacity and a bigger piston valve within a smaller casing." The bigger valve prevents fluid cavitation within the shock, a phenomenon akin to engine coolant boiling over, which leads to a degradation in performance over rough roads.

The Bilstein kit gives the Ranger an extra two inches of clearance and makes for a more controlled ride both on and off the road. But control is nothing without grip. To this end, Sam shod Drew's ride with Nitto Trail Grappler 295/55 R20 tires. They're a staggering 33in tall and come with an aggressive tread pattern for mud-plugging. "Mud tires are usually noisy on the highway," explains Sam. "But Nitto has developed this tread pattern that doesn't give off that high-pitched whine. There's still a low-frequency whirr, but it's not annoying or intrusive." The Trail Grapplers are also safe in the rain and are surprisingly durable.

These beefy meats are mounted on Black Rhino 20in-by-9in Glamis eight-spoke rims. The matte-black hue suits the Ranger well, matching the natural black accents of the design. Sam started importing these wheels a few years ago, before the "matte" look really took off.

"At first, people didn't get it, but when we set up some SUVs with matte-black wheels, people saw how it looked—that instant change of character," Sam shares. These wheels are now so popular that they're outselling chrome wheels at the shop. The dark finish is also easier to repair than chrome when damaged, a big plus on wheels that are bound to get scratched sooner or later.


Despite Drew's hectic schedule, we think he's going to get his new wheels dirty soon enough. Count on it.

Wheel Gallery is located at 318 Santolan Road, Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila. You may contact them at (02) 726-0965; (02) 724-7176; (02) 724-2739; and (0917) 880-1111. Or e-mail


Stock to Rock: Drew Arellano's pickup gets a makeover

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