When we browsed all the festivities that the Chicago Auto Show had to offer during our brief visit, a highlight for us was the trio of custom Nissan Frontier pickups that the Japanese auto giant brought to the dance. Each truck brings a distinct theme to the 2022 Frontier and that means appealing to three different customer bases.
Project Hardbody and 72X Embrace Retro Side Of Life
The first two trucks on display are a homage to the Datsun 720 and Nissan Hardbody which are often considered to be icons in their respective eras. That’s reflected in the themes that Nissan designers put into the two with Project 72X covering the Datsun side of the coin. The truck is built on a Frontier S 4×4 model and features retro 70’s 4×4 side graphics as well as white steelie wheels. Nissan also borrowed the PRO-4X’s off-road tires and even gave it a 2.5-inch suspension lift.
Project Hardbody gets much of its inspiration from the 1980s and 1990s and Nissan designers did their best to drive home that point. The front fascia features a blackout treatment with the fender flares and skid plate being grafted from the PRO-4X model. The modifications here are more extensive and a Frontier SV model serves as the donor truck for this creation. The sport bar, graphics pack, and the rock rails are all dealer available accessories, but the one item that isn’t is also the one thing that made it a winner in our eyes, the wheels.
Nissan designers made these wheels in-house and they do a good job replicating similar style wheels that served as a visual calling card for the model. It also doesn’t hurt either that the wheels are mounted on 33-inch off-road tires with a 3-inch Calmini sourced suspension lift. This would be the truck we would buy if given the opportunity, and perhaps positive feedback with auto show crowds could eventually motivate the company to make a production version.
Project Adventure Goes All In On Frontier Overlanding
While the first two models embraced iconic moments in Nissan truck history, the Frontier-based Project Adventure is more straightforward in its approach and is an attempt to allow the Frontier to embrace its overlanding side. The PRO-4X is naturally the recipient of this suit of upgrades and it benefits from a massive 5-inch suspension lift and 34-inch mud-terrain tires. The exterior features a custom wrap that replicates the map of the continental United States with the look even extending to the roof-mounted tent.
A massive roof-mounted light bar, custom rock rails, and a carbon fiber snorkel further enhance the off-road motif and also adds a touch of tech field style to the Frontier. The bed of the Project Adventure is where all the camping takes place with the bed featuring a rack system and a bed-mounted Kicker Audio system.
Nissan created these trucks to not only showcase how flexible the Frontier’s canvas is, but to also celebrate the strong sales success that the 2022 Frontier has enjoyed since it made its way to dealer lots, with the truck increasing its segment sales percentage by 6 points. That’s a drastic improvement over the outgoing Frontier and it’s an early indicator that shows the Frontier is striking the right chord with mid-size truck buyers.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.