Nissan Z, V8 Frontier, Ariya Surfwagon 2022 SEMA Listing Highlights

Late October means jack-‘o-lanterns, candy, and costumes for normal people. But for those of us who follow the auto industry, there is a completely different set of outfits making their big debut at the annual SEMA event.

While some brands skip SEMA, Nissan is not one of them. The Japanese brand brought a number of concepts and racers to this year’s event, showing off just how wild its newest product can be. The latest Z sports car has standout features, but the Ariya also joins in on the fun, while the Frontier pickup truck adds plenty of V8 help. And there’s even a tantalizing mix of classic metal with modern electrification. Let’s dive in and see what Nissan brings to SEMA 2022.

Catch Some Zs

Half of the cars Nissan showcased at SEMA wear the iconic Z badge, but only one of them is actually road legal, and what the Nismo Accessorized Z lacks in its unimaginative name, makes up for the extra performance and aesthetics. On the outside, there’s the traditional red-and-white-black Nismo color scheme and not much else – other than a wild wing or a crazy body kit, Mobile1 graphics and carbon fiber trim inside and out add a dose of motorsports flair.

Instead, Nissan focused on improving functional performance. The twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 carries a Nismo-branded cold air intake pending CARB approval, while a larger heat exchanger keeps the engine in a pleasant place on hot track days. Nismo stainless exhaust with 2.25-inch outer pipe allows for freer breathing and a better soundtrack. Nissan doesn’t share the output of the Nismo Accessorized Z, but the new twin-disc Nismo clutch and flywheel can handle up to 800 horsepower and 750 pound-feet of torque.

Nismo Accessorized Nissan Z Concept

The greatly improved suspension carries a Nismo twin tube coilover which lowers the noticeable ride height by at least a few tenths of an inch. Along with the Nismo-branded sway-bar kit, coilovers are the only suspension change that can be purchased. The prototype part includes a support tower support and a large number of suspension links. New 19-inch Nismo LM-RS1 alloy wheels protect the Nismo large brake kit. The six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers should provide much more stopping power, while Bridgestone RE71RS tires mean much more grip.

Beyond the Nismo Accessozied Z, Nissan is also showing off the 1,300 horsepower, GT-R-powered Z that drifter Chris Forsberg will campaign for in Formula Drift. Joins the GT4-spec Z – Nissan will share its 2023 racing plans during the SEMA press conference, but with the GT4 car coming to the IMSA VP Racing Series in 2023, it’s a safe bet we’ll see the new Z challenge at the North American Circuit in the near future.

Nissan Z Formula Drift

Zero-Emissions, Maximum Cool

Nissan’s wildest production-based concept is the Ariya Surfwagon. Built by Tommy Pike Customs, it adopts a vinyl wrap and enough chrome trim to replicate the classic Woodie Wagon vibe. But to be honest, that change plays second only to the fantastic 20-inch “smoothie” wheels. The turquoise wheels, chrome center cap and whitewall tires are just as appealing, thanks in part to the lower ride height. Finally, the custom roof rack is home to a pair of seven-foot-high surfboards.

If the Ariya Surfwagon is a little too aggressive in its mix of classic and modern, then the Nissan Leaf-powered Sunny pickup might get you up to speed even more. Also a product of Tommy Pike Customs, and owned by Tommy Pike himself, it’s a marriage of a Nissan Leaf powertrain with a 1987 Sunny pickup. It’s basically perfect.

Nissan Ayiya Surfwagon Concept

A 40 kilowatt-hour battery and an electric motor produce 147 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. That may not sound like much, but Nissan has helped demonstrate that it had twice as much power and three times as much torque as the Sunny had when it rolled out of the factory during the Reagan administration. The front suspension is based on a conversion for the S13 Silvia (240SX on our shores) while the rear sees improved leaf springs. 17-inch Rotiform wheels perfectly match the lower ride height and widebody kit.

Nissan Sunny Leaf Project

Moar Truck

Last but not least is the Nismo Off-Road Frontier V8 Concept which, you guessed it, is a Frontier with a V8 engine. Can’t really argue with that greatness.

The 5.6-liter V8 is derived from the Titan pickup and benefits from a Nismo-branded cold air intake and cat-back exhaust. Nissan doesn’t share total output, but should subtly upgrade at 400 hp and 413 lb-ft from the factory 5.6-liter Titan. Nissan and Forsberg Racing carried the Baja truck theme, adding a wide-track suspension featuring Nismo/Bilstein shocks at all four corners, improved leaf springs at the rear, and a sturdier rear axle, also from the Titan. Ride height increased by two to three inches, although Nissan did not share specific figures.

Nissan Nismo Off-Road Frontier V8
Nissan Frontier Street Truck Project

Off-Road Frontier wears a wide-body kit that uses carbon fiber for the front fenders, hood and sides of the box. Prototype items include a steel front bumper (including a Warn winch), rock rails, and a bed-mounted carrier for wheels/tyres.

If the Baja life isn’t for you or you find the V8 a little overwhelming, Christina Roki’s Nissan Frontier Road Truck Project stands out. Based on the Frontier King Cab, this black-and-white-red pickup features a special suspension setup that lowers ride height. Complementing the new stance are the 20-inch Black Rhino Kaizen, Detroit Performance Lab body kit, and smoke headlights. The main powertrain upgrade is the Magnaflow cat-back exhaust.

Nissan will showcase all of its concepts and racing vehicles at the SEMA event in Las Vegas from November 1 to 4. Stay tuned for more from the big show starting next week.

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