Yes, this turbocharged, V-8 powered "Desert Runner" is based on Nissan's now-ancient Frontier mid-size pickup, but don't let that discourage you. Nissan has proven that with a little help there's still some life left in the Frontier's old bones.
The Frontier may be old news, but Nissan's partners don't let that get in the way of having fun. While "Desert Runner" is used as a trim name for Nissan's mid-size pickup, what we have here is something else entirely. In Nissan's own words, it resembles the factory version "in name only," describing the final product as a "near full-blown race truck." That's not much of an exaggeration.
Nissan says this 4x2's swapped-in 5.6-liter V-8 makes more than 600 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque thanks to a turbocharger, upgraded internals and a custom exhaust. This engine is mated to a 6-speed manual with an upgraded clutch and lightweight flywheel.
The Desert Runner rides on a BTF Fabrication long-travel front suspension kit, King Racing triple bypass shocks front and rear, front coil-overs and King Racing and Giant Motorsports Link Killer rear leaf springs. The wheels are TurboMac HDs care of Fifteen52, and they're wrapped in 37-inch BFG Baja T/A tires.
MA Motorsports is responsible for the shock hoops, engine and bed cages, and for assembling the body, which comprises custom components from Fiberworx. Rigid Industries and Speed Designs supplied the off-road lighting package and vinyl wrap, respectively. The interior has been partially stripped down and augmented with a set of Sparco racing seats and a harness bar.
The Frontier Desert Runner will be staged alongside Nissan's Global Time Attack TT 370Z, Kicks Street Sport and an updated 2020 Titan wearing Nissan factory accessories on the show floor at SEMA this week.