Nissan at SEMA: A Leaf-powered Sunny, a V8 Frontier and an Ariya woodie

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Although a number of major automakers have dropped out of SEMA, there are still a few with stuff to show. Nissan is bringing a seriously wide array of custom machines to the show from EVs to V8 and turbo rides. It also has a bunch of parts to show off that regular customers can get for the 2023 Nissan Z and Frontier.

Nissan Sunny Leaf concept

Our favorite of the cars coming to the Nissan booth is probably the 1987 Sunny pickup shown at the top. Nissan sold the pickup version of the Sunny compact for decades in various overseas markets, particularly Japan. This one was built by Tommy Pike Customs, and it features a very popular body modification: a first-generation “Hakosuka” Skyline front end and bolt-on fender flares. Far less common is the powertrain swap. The shop bolted up a 147-horsepower Nissan Leaf electric motor to the Sunny’s manual transmission. So now it’s a tiny rear-wheel-drive truck with electric power. The entire front suspension has been replaced by S13 240SX components. The finishing touches include the BRE tribute livery, Rotiform Aerodisc 17-inch wheels, LED headlights and custom interior.

Nissan Ariya Surfwagon concept

Also built by Tommy Pike Customs, this time at the behest of Nissan, is this Ariya Surfwagon. The modifications are minor compared to the Sunny, but it’s still visually striking. It has a custom beige vinyl wrap with wood panel graphics printed on it. The car has a custom lowered suspension, 20-inch “smoothie” wheels painted blue with chrome center caps and whitewall tires, plus a custom roof rack with surfboards.

Nissan Frontier Street Truck

This is another truck built by someone outside Nissan. In this case it’s Christina Roki. It features a lowered suspension and a widebody kit from Performance Lab Detroit. It has a custom vinyl wrap, Black Rhino wheels, a Magnaflow cat-back exhaust, smoked Aerowerkz headlights and an Alcantara-covered interior.

Nissan Nismo Off Road Frontier V8 concept

At the other end of the Frontier spectrum is the Nismo Off Road Frontier V8. This was built by Forsberg Racing, known for its monstrous 1,300-horsepower GT-R-powered Z drift car, with a combination of custom parts and some Nismo accessories. The showpiece of course is the 5.6-liter V8 under the hood, which comes from the bigger Titan pickup truck. It’s given a bit of a performance boost with a Nismo intake and cat-back exhaust. The truck rides on custom suspension including unique control arms, front spindles and hubs, rear leaf springs and a Titan rear axle. It’s also outfitted with Nismo/Bilstein shocks. The custom carbon fiber widebody kit and hood cover the big tires on Nismo Axis wheels. The truck also showcases accessories currently available such as the Nismo roof rack and LED lights, plus Nismo prototype accessories such as the rock rails, front bumper and rear spare tire carriers.

Nissan Nismo Performance Parts Z

Wrapping up this collection of SEMA custom car debuts is the Nismo Performance Parts Z. It’s a 2022 Nissan Z with every possible Nismo accessory available and soon-to-be-available. A huge portion of the parts are for the suspension including coilovers with adjustable damping and ride height, adjustable anti-roll bars, rear lower camber links, rear traction arms, anti-roll bar endlinks, front upper control arms, front outer tie-rod ends and midlinks. The car also shows a prototype front shock tower brace. The brakes are upgraded with a kit that includes 6-piston front calipers, 4-piston rear calipers and stainless steel brake lines. They’re hidden by 19-inch forged LM-RS1 wheels available in black, dark silver or bronze. As for powertrain upgrades, the car has a cold-air intake that’s in the process of getting CARB certification, a track-only exhaust and a twin-disc clutch and flywheel set that can handle up to 800 horsepower and 750 pound-feet of torque. Further dress-up parts include carbon fiber mirror covers, carbon fiber engine cover, carbon fiber steering wheel trim, a new coolant tank, oil filler cap, fuel filler cap, door kick plates and a titanium shift knob. All of these parts are either available now or will be soon for your own 2022 or newer Z.

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