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Nissan Frontier Desert Runner Conquers Dunes, Has Raptors In Its Crosshairs


Nissan’s Frontier mid-size pickup has been around for a very long time in its current form. Some truck buyers consider it an antique when compared to other offerings, and its rivals often relegate it to the nosebleed section when preparing their mid-size pickup contenders. Despite this, Nissan Motorsports were eager to prove that there is still a pulse in this grizzled veteran, and have unleashed a wild SEMA bound one-off that dares to push the envelope for the aging Frontier.



The exterior styling of the concept (dubbed the Desert Runner) features revised front and rear bumpers while the back comes equipped with a custom carrier for the full size spare tire. A bank of lights supplied by Rigid helps light the way at night, while MA Motorsports (a recurring character) helped provide the slick wrap that adorns the entire body. Beefy skidplates front and rear help protect the underbody from rogue obstacles and debris, and they also look very cool to boot.

The interior in comparision recieves a milder suite of tweaks with the floor recieving a special coating to help it withstand the elements better while new racing seats offer improved support when going over big jumps. The dashboard is racer focused, with many of the frills of consumerism being pitched for an easy to use, no nonsense layout.

Performance for the Frontier Desert Runner is arguably its biggest asset, with Nissan engineers adopting a double or nothing approach in this regard. Case in point is the engine, with the Frontier’s prehistoric V6 being shelved for a bigger V8 borrowed from the bigger Titan pickup. The new engine has heavily revised internals, and is hooked up to a Garrett turbocharger that features a custom intercooler system to help provide extra confidence when doing high speed desert runs. Custom headers and exhaust pieces further enhance output, with Nissan claiming that the engine is capable of producing over 600 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque.

A six speed manual sends all the power to the rear wheels with Jim Wolf Technology supplying both the custom clutch and the flywheel for this refreshingly old school driving experience. A custom suspension system absorbs bumps, while a BTF Fabrication long travel kit and King Racing supplied triple bypass coilovers solidify the front suspension. The rear suspension is also equipped with King Racing triple bypass shocks, but the setup is joined by Giant Motorsports link killer leaf springs. Meaty 37-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A tires help provide maximum amounts of grip which is key in sand where the surface can bog down lesser tire offerings with surprising efficency.

The truck will be on display at SEMA this week, and look for it to be a key showpiece for Nissan Motorsports at future events.


1 Comment

  1. jarredorlane December 17, 2019

    This looks really amazing. I wanna do something similar to this but I have to stick with the set of nitto tires I got from https://4wheelonline.com/Nitto-Off_Road_Mud_Tires.25.


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