The Nissan Frontier is not a vehicle that has been blessed with a lot of major updates over the years, The last generation model had a 14 year run before being replaced by an all-new design for the 2022 model year. That new Frontier is off to a strong start with fourth quarter sales in 2021 being more than double the prior year. Even with a much improved truck now available, Nissan isn’t resting on its laurels, showing off three new concept versions at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show.
Two of the three concepts are callbacks to successful Nissan trucks of the past while the latest is the brands take on the current overlanding trend.
Back before Nissan was a brand familiar to American customers, there was Datsun and the 720 was one of the precursors of the growing compact truck market of the 1980s. Those of us old enough to remember the 1970s will instantly feel at home with the 72X Frontier. Back in those days, big-bold stripes and side graphics were common and those on this concept would fit right in. In those days, cast aluminum wheels were a rarity on trucks, so Nissan designers took the standard steel wheels that normally hang under the back of the bed as spares and painted a set of them white and mounted Pro-4X tires and a 2.5-inch lift kit. Take this into a time machine back to Venice beach in 1979 and you’ll feel right at home.
In 1985, the 720 was succeeded by the D21, but here in North America, everyone knew this truck as the Hardbody thanks to its double wall bed. The bright red Project Hardbody gets a 3-inch lift with adjustable suspension. The custom milled aluminum wheels are inspired by a design from the 1990s Hardbody and are mounted with 33-inch tires. A bed mounted spare and sport bar 10-inch LED lights finish the look.
The Project Adventure starts with a current Pro-4X Frontier and adds a suite of aftermarket accessories from suppliers including Yakima. The 5-inch lift and 34-inch tires will make the roughest terrain more accessible, while a carbon-fiber snorkel should enable fording through some deep water. The bed rack, Loadwarrior roof basket and skytent all come from Yakima while Kicker supplied the bluetooth bed audio.
Nissan is saying if the plan to offer any of these as regular production options, but all should be readily reproducible from the aftermarket.