When a regular van gets a Cummins V8 and a lift kit, things get exciting.

The Nissan NV 2500 HD cargo van is hugely capable the way it leaves the factory. That wasn’t enough for off-roader Ian Johnson, who gave the NV a hefty makeover, turning it into a go-anywhere, do-anything off-roading rig called the NV Cargo X.

The starting point of the build involved ditching the NV’s stock engine in favor of the 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel V8 from a Nissan Titan XD, which produces an impressive 310 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque. Then Johnson and his team of builders installed the four-wheel-drive setup from the Titan XD donor, as well as a custom lifted front suspension, and new wheels with 37-inch General Grabber 3X mud-terrain tires, giving it a claimed 22.0 inches of ground clearance, versus just 8.1 inches for the stock van.

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Other upgrades include a 10,000-pound winch up front, new tube bumpers with functional skid plates, additional LED lighting, and survival goodies like a full-size spare wheel and tire, a jack, a portable welder, and other tools for dealing with mishaps on the trail.

To put the Cargo X through its paces, Johnson and friends went to the challenging Pyeatt Draw trail near Payson, Arizona. “We asked the NV Cargo X to do work that's way outside of its normal job description, and it rose to every challenge,” he said.

The concept will remain just that, with no plans announced so far for Nissan to put anything so extreme into production. But it’s a useful way for the automaker to show off the versatility and capability of its NV cargo van and the Cummins-sourced turbodiesel V8 in its truck range.

“We thought it would be interesting to take an NV Cargo to the extreme – pushing it to where no cargo van has ever gone before,” Nissan North America truck division vice president Fred Diaz said in a statement. “We weren't disappointed.”

The Nissan NV Cargo X makes its public debut next week at the Chicago Auto Show.

Source: Nissan

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