Nissan, amongst other juicy offerings it brought to the 2019 SEMA show this year, is showing off its latest project based on the Frontier (better known as the Navara around here) called the Desert Runner, however it’s not to be confused for the run-of-the-mill version that’s sold in US dealerships. Allow me to explain.
The Desert Runner is the fruit of labour between extreme performance specialists MA Motorsports and the Nissan Motorsports team.
Unlike the Navara N Trek Warrior or Ranger Raptor, this one is on the other side of the spectrum like a Baja 1000 desert monster that’s been toned down. But for all intents and purposes, it’s a near full-blown race truck.
The Desert Runner’s conversion started under the bonnet by swapping out its factory-fitted 4.0-litre petrol V6 for the 5.6-litre Endurance V8 motor used in their full-size Titan pick-up truck. As if that weren’t already enough, the motor was stripped down and given a complete ‘race-spec’ rebuild.
Uprated camshafts, pistons and valves from Jim Wolf Technology were needed to handle the added power and torque provided by the inclusion of a Garrett GTX3584RS turbocharger. Furthermore, a custom intercooler, custom turbo header and exhaust system were equipped. The end result is a colossal 450kW of power and 950Nm of torque fired to the rear wheels via a Nissan six-speed manual transmission with a Jim Wolf Technology clutch and lightweight flywheel.
To handle the boat-load of power, the suspension makeover had to be just as 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 Desert Runner rolls on massive 37-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A tyres wrapped around Fifteen52 TurboMac HD wheels.
MA Motorsports then turned their attention to the bodywork and installed Fiberworx Pre Runner fenders and fabricated new front and rear bumpers along with a custom spare tyre carrier. Completing the exterior modifications is a full package road lighting kit from Rigid Industries and a body wrap by Speed Designs.
Inside, there isn’t much in the way of the luxuries; quite the opposite really. MA Motorsports manufactured a custom harness bar for the Desert Runner while Sparco supplied the harnesses, racing seats and steering wheel with quick release adapters.
While the idea of a petrol-fed performance Navara is highly titillating to Aussie customers, sadly, there’s virtually no chance that a factory-made Desert Runner-like edition will be available in our market. Apparently, Nissan is working on electrifying the Navara rather than making a performance version. However, the idea of a right-hand drive Titan may still be a possibility as it’s believed Nissan is currently working out how to do so.