Nissan Stuffs V8 Up Nose of Frontier Pickup


In a time-honored tradition of shoehorning a large engine into a small vehicle, Nissan showed up at this week’s SEMA show in Vegas with a V8-powered Frontier midsize pickup truck. Yes, it’s a concept but one can still admire the effort.

Built by the speed freaks at Forsberg Racing, the Nissan Frontier concept truck features the 5.6-liter V8 engine sourced from a Titan. That’s an engine that makes 400 horsepower and roughly a like amount of torque when fed a steady supply of premium fuel. Both are healthy jumps over what’s on tap in a stock Frontier which shows up for duty with a 3.8-liter V6 good for 310 ponies and 281 lb-ft of twist. Plus, one can imagine the octopot sounds much burlier than the six-cylinder mill. In past testing of the Titan, we’ve discovered the thing to rumble out a good impression of Nipponese NASCAR.

Details are scanty as to exactly how much work was required to stuff this thing between the fenders, but it is worth noting the concept has a wider suspension than stock. Specifically, a wide-track suspension was created with different lower control arms, front spindles, wheel hubs, plus a rear axle plucked from a Titan. The suspenders also feature custom upper control arms and Bilstein coilovers, and custom rear leaf springs with external reservoir shocks for increased ride height and payload capacity. A few of those items are surely for off-road prowess, but we suspect some of the gubbins were needed to make the V8 work properly.

Tying it all together is a custom wide-body kit with carbon fiber front fenders, hood, and bedsides. Don’t expect those to make their way into any sort of official catalog but that prototype NISMO Off-Road front bumper stands a chance since it functionally improves the truck’s approach angle and tire clearance. Looks baller, too. Same goes for the prototype rock rails. The roof rack and off-road lighting are sourced from NISMO.

Readers with their ears to the ground will know that Nissan has significantly scaled back their truck program, halting deliveries of the Titan in Canada after slowly killing off the not-quite-heavy-duty XD a couple of years ago in all markets. Most expect the truck to disappear altogether in a few years, leaving dealers with the midsize Frontier as their sole product with an open bed. North of the border, some dealers were left holding the bag and unimpressed after investing heavily and doing quite well for themselves with Titan sales. 

Memo to Nissan: this would be a great way to use up any surplus V8 engines formerly earmarked for Titan production.

[Image: Nissan]

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