The Nissan Frontier Desert Runner concept arrives at this year's SEMA Show as a rugged, off-road version of the brand's long-lived pickup truck. The work on this truck comes from MA Motorsports and the Nissan Motorsports team.

Gallery: Nissan Frontier Desert Runner

Rather than the Frontier's stuck engine, the Desert Runner gets the 5.6-liter V8 from the Titan. In addition, the engine gets a Garrett turbocharger and custom intercooler. The revised internals include new camshafts, pistons, and valves. Custom headers and exhaust also help boost the output. Nissan estimates the output at over 600 horsepower (447 kilowatts) and 700 pound-feet (949 Newton-meters). The powerplant runs through a six-speed manual, and Jim Wolf Technology supplies the clutch and lightweight flywheel. The truck rides on a 4X2 drivetrain configuration.

The truck rides on a custom suspension to soak up the bumps off-road. There's a BTF Fabrication long-travel front suspension kit, in addition to King Racing triple-bypass front shocks and coilovers. The rear gets King Racing triple-bypass shocks with Giant Motorsports link killer leaf springs. The truck rides on 37-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A tires. 

In addition, big light bars illuminate the way ahead. Plus, there are skid plates for protecting the mechanical components.

Aesthetically, the truck features revised bumpers at both ends and new fenders. At the back, there's a custom carrier for a spare rear wheel. Rigid supplies the auxiliary lighting. The body wrap is by MA Motorsports.

The interior tweaks are fairly minor. The floor gets a special coating, and there are racing seats with competition harnesses.

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Nissan Frontier Desert Runner

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The name “Desert Runner” is familiar to fans of Nissan’s popular mid-size pickup, the Frontier. As one of five available Frontier models, Desert Runner offers a special package of off-road style features in an affordable 4x2 configuration. But there has never been a Frontier Desert Runner like the one making its debut at the 2019 SEMA Show.

Under the hands of the experienced extreme performance specialists at MA Motorsports in Glen Arm, Md., working in tandem with the Nissan Motorsports team, this Desert Runner resembles the factory version in name only – going from weekend adventurer to near full-blown race truck.

The conversion started under the hood by replacing the factory 4.0-liter V6 engine with a
5.6-liter Endurance® V8 from a Nissan TITAN full-size pickup. The big V8 underwent a
complete race-spec rebuild, including the addition of a Garrett GTX3584RS turbocharger,
custom intercooler, Jim Wolf Technology camshafts, pistons and valves, and MA
Motorsports custom turbo header and exhaust system. The engine boasts 600-plus
horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque. The new V8 is matched to a Nissan 6-speed manual
transmission with Jim Wolf Technology clutch and lightweight flywheel.
The suspension makeover is equally aggressive and includes a BTF Fabrication long
travel front suspension kit, King Racing Triple Bypass front shocks and coil-overs, rear
King Racing Triple Bypass shocks and Giant Motorsports Link Killer rear leaf springs. The
Frontier Desert Runner rides on Fifteen52 TurboMac HD wheels and 37-inch BFGoodrich
Baja T/A tires. The shock hoops, engine cage and bed cage were fabricated by MA

Turning attention to the body, MA Motorsports installed Fiberworx Pre Runner fenders and fabricated new front and rear bumpers, along with a custom spare tire carrier. A full package of off-road lighting from Rigid Industries and a body wrap by Speed Designs complete the bold exterior.

Inside, the factory interior was replaced by a no-frills cockpit – including coated floor, MA Motorsports custom harness bar and Sparco harnesses. Sparco also supplied the racing seats and steering wheel with quick release steering wheel adapter.



Jim Wolf Technology

Brian Crower Garrett

MA Motorsports Tial
MA Motorsports UPREV

MA Motorsports BTF Fabrication

Giant Motorsports MA Motorsports Fifteen52 BFGoodrich

Jim Wolf Technology Nissan
Driven Desires
The Driveshaft Shop

Nissan Frontier King Cab Desert Runner body and chassis

Camshafts, valve springs and retainers, Spec JE pistons (10.5:1 compression ratio)

Connecting rods

GTX3584RS turbocharger with 1.21 V-band turbine housing

Custom intercooler and piping with Garrett core V60 external wastegate, QRJ blow-off valve Custom turbo header, 3.5-inch turbo back exhaust Electronic control unit, GT MAF

Aluminum radiator
Dual electric fans with custom shroud Coolant header tank and bleed system Long travel front suspension kit

64”Link Killer rear leaf springs
Shock hoops, engine cage, bed cage
Block Bronze Turbomac HD wheels 17” x 8.5” 37x12.50R17 Baja T/A tires
Clutch kit, lightweight flywheel
6-speed manual gearbox
6-speed transmission adapter kit
Custom driveshaft
Highly modified 5.6-liter Endurance® V8 engine – 600
hp/700 lb-ft
King Off-Road Racing Shocks
10” 2.5” Triple Bypass front shocks, 10” 2.5” front coil-overs, 16” 3.5” Triple Bypass rear shocks, 2x3” rear bump stops
Giant Motorsports Strange

MA Motorsports

Turbosmart Fiberwerx

MA Motorsports MA Motorsports
Axle housing with Dutchman axles

9” third member

Airlocker differential

PRO ADV seats, R323 steering wheel, quick release steering wheel adapter, harnesses

C125 Dash Display Custom harness bar

E-Boost2 electronic boost controller Front fenders, rear bedsides

Light bar and front pod lights Custom front and rear bumpers Utili-track spare tire carrier
Project vehicle not available for purchase. Includes non-Nissan accessories that are not warranted by Nissan.

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