Nissan shows quartet of modified 2022 Frontier trucks, along with 2023 Z sports car and Ariya electric crossover, at Chicago Auto Show
Nissan is bringing a truckload of Southern California vibes to the 2022 Chicago Auto Show with a trio of custom Frontier trucks created by its San Diego-based design team.
The three Nissan Design America (NDA) project trucks are based on the 2022 Frontier, which is available now at Nissan dealers nationwide. They are joined by the Rebelle Rally Frontier, driven by “Team Wild Grace” in the eight-day, 1,500-mile competition in the deserts of Nevada, Arizona and California.
Also making their Chicago-area debuts at the show are the all-new 2023 Nissan Z and the 2023 Nissan Ariya electric crossover. The Z will be available this spring, followed by Ariya in the fall. All of the showcased vehicles are part of the company’s ambitious “Nissan NEXT” transformation, which has resulted in one of the freshest new model lineups in the industry, from A to Z.
“Two big events are happening in February, the Chicago Auto Show and the Super Bowl, and Nissan is excited to be a part of both,” said Michael Colleran, senior vice president, Nissan U.S. and Marketing and Sales, referring to Nissan’s action-packed Super Bowl commercial, “Thrill Driver,” starring the new Z and Ariya. “We are demonstrating the emotional connection and real benefits that Nissan tech delivers – the Thrill Effect – and can’t wait for attendees at the show to experience these vehicles firsthand.”
Three Frontier projects – plus one
The Project 72X, Project Hardbody and Project Adventure, while all sharing the same 2022 Frontier Crew Cab platform, address three different mid-size truck audiences and start with three different Frontier grade levels – S, SV and PRO-4X respectively. All three of the Frontier concept trucks combine readily available Nissan and aftermarket parts and accessories with custom-designed pieces and custom graphics.
“We’re offering three looks at three styles to show how owners could modify their new Frontiers,” said Hiren Patel, project lead designer, Nissan Design America, Inc. “The common ground is that they all use their trucks as canvases for personalization.”
The Project 72X is a modern take on one of Nissan’s most popular trucks, the Datsun 720. First introduced in fall 1979, the 720 eventually became the first vehicle assembled by Nissan in the United States when it rolled off the line of the then-new Smyrna (Tennessee) Vehicle Assembly Plant in 1983. Known as the “Lil Hustler,” it was a bare-bones, affordable truck designed for fun and was advertised as ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. For the 2022 interpretation, the design team used gray exterior tones and graphics for a sense of modern, cool attitude – a look reinforced by the white-painted steel wheels, a 2.5-inch lift kit and a sport bar behind the cab.
Project Hardbody, as the name suggests, pays homage to one of the most iconic Nissan trucks ever, the D21 “Hardbody.” It was the first truck design completed at NDA. Project Hardbody is built on a 2022 Frontier Crew Cab SV 4x4. It features a 3-inch lift kit, classic Hardbody block-style wheels designed and milled at NDA, bed-mounted spare tire carrier and door graphics with ‘80s-style shadow outlining.
Project Adventure is the design group’s take on the current popular overlanding trend and features a 5-inch lift kit, 34-inch mud terrain tires and a special carbon fiber snorkel designed and crafted by NDA. A key feature of the Project Adventure is the custom body wrap depicting an atlas of the U.S., which makes the statement, This is a big country, why don’t you take your Frontier somewhere?
The Rebelle Rally Frontier competed in last October’s all-women Rebelle Rally, piloted by Team Wild Grace co-captains Sedona Blinson and Lyn Woodward. The longest off-road rally in the United States, the racers don’t use cell phones, navigation or any electronic tools throughout the rally – just maps, compass and roadbook. The Rebelle Rally Frontier carries the retro red, white and blue paint job of Nissan’s champion off-road racers of the 1980s.
The Frontier PRO-4X Rebelle Rally racer has been modified for competition with a range of NISMO Off Road parts, including NISMO Off Road performance exhaust, NISMO Off Road performance suspension kit, 4-inch off-road lights and NISMO Off Road AXIS wheels.
The 2022 Chicago Auto Show runs Feb. 12 – 21 at McCormick Place.
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