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Nissan Frontier Desert Runner Concept Will Cross Sandy Dunes To Make It To SEMA

The current-gen Nissan Frontier might finally be getting replaced, but before it does, Nissan is sending it off with a bang.

Frontier Desert Runner

Nissan is heading to SEMA with a selection of concepts including one very special Frontier pickup.

The Frontier is not long for this world. At least, not in its current guise. The now-ancient Frontier is finally getting a redesign next year with a completely new chassis and powertrain. Details on what that could mean remain scarce, but in the meantime, Nissan is still making their old workhorse work it for SEMA 2019.

It may be old, but the Frontier still makes a great platform for a whole bunch of desert racing mods. Enter the Nissan Frontier Desert Runner.

Frontier Desert Runner
via Nissan

Built in collaboration between Nissan Motorsports and MA Motorsports in Glen Arm, Maryland, the Frontier Desert Racer is not an official Nissan entry for the Baja 1000 race, but it might as well be.

First MA Motorsports tosses out the Frontier's 4.0-L V6 and replaces it with the 5.6-L V8 from the Nissan Titan. Then they fit it with a Garrett GTX3584RS turbocharger, a custom intercooler and turbo header, new camshafts, valves, and pistons, and finally give it a custom out-the-side exhaust system.

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The end result? Somewhere north of 600 hp and 700 lb-ft of torque.

All that power goes to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission. This is likely due to the fact that Frontier just doesn't have enough room with a big V8 under the hood to also have all-wheel-drive, but it might also just be for weight considerations. Racing in the desert is a tricky thing when you weigh over 5,000 lbs.

Frontier Desert Runner
via Nissan

Next up, suspension. BTF Fabrication provides a long-travel suspension kit while King Racing Tripe Bypass shocks adorn all four corners. Giant Motorsports Link Killer rear leaf springs keep the back of the truck from bouncing too heavily.

A set of 37-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A tires are wrapped around Fifteen52 TurboMac HD wheels, while MA Motorsports provides custom bumpers and a spare tire carrier. Rigid LED lighting and Sparco seats fill in the rest.

So far Nissan says this is just a concept, but this is easily the coolest Frontier ever made. Maybe as one last hurrah they can sell it as a special edition pickup.

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