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 4×2 configuration. But there has never been a Frontier Desert Runner like the one made by 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.
Under the hood, factory 4.0-liter V6 engine is replaced 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 Motorsports.
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.
– Engine: 5.6 liter V8
– Power: 600 horsepower (447 kilowatts)
– Torque: 700 lb-ft (949 Nm)
– Transmission: 6-speed manual
– Drivetrain: 4×2