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The '80s Reborn: Nissan Throws it Back with Retro-Themed Modified Frontier Pickups

When Nissan introduced its redesigned Frontier pickup for the 2022 model year, it had a lot catching up to do. Not only was the aging last-gen model well overdue for a new version, but its primary rival the Toyota Tacoma had in the meantime built one of the strongest enthusiast and aftermarket followings in the segment.

Nissan Custom Frontiers Chicago Auto Show 2022

With a standard V6 engine that delivers solid performance and a lot more interior tech than the old truck, the stock Frontier has already been well received.

Nissan Frontier Project 72X Rear

So it's not surprising that Nissan is trying to show that the new Frontier has just as much upgrade potential as the Tacoma and other trucks like the Ford Ranger. And at this week's Chicago Auto Show the company brought three modified examples, with two of them done with a heavy retro theme.

Project 72X

First up is the "Project 72X" Frontier S, which gets its name from the Nissan/Datsun 720 pickup that debuted in late 1979.

Nissan Frontier Project 72X Front

Its modifications aren't extreme, but they are effective: starting with a modest 2.5 inch lift, Datsun 720-inspired graphics, and a set of four spare steel wheels painted white and fitted with tires borrowed from the Frontier PRO-4X model. 

Nissan Frontier 72X Side View

Project Hardbody

The next truck, a Frontier SV gets its name and inspiration from the Nissan Hardbody pickup of the '80s and '90s. It uses the same basic formula as Project 72X, but with a three-inch lift and graphics influenced by the aforementioned Hardbody.

2022 Nissan Frontier Project Hardbody

It's also been fitted with a few parts borrowed from the PRO-4X and a number of upgrades from Nissan's factory accessory lineup including fender flares and a sport bar with LED rectangular lights.

2022 Nissan Frontier Project Hardbody Side View

The coolest of all the modifications have to be the wheels. They are 17 inches in diameter were custom-designed and built by Nissan Design America as modern replicas of the classic Hardbody factory wheels from the '80s.

Nissan Frontier Project Hardbody Wheels

Project Adventure

Last but not least is Project Adventure, which is built out of the Frontier PRO-4X. And this one eschews the retro vibe for a modern overlanding theme.

2022 Nissan Frontier Project Adventure

It's the most heavily modified of the trio, with a five-inch lift, larger tires and a full Yakima rack system fitted with all the adventuring necessities. 

Nissan Frontier Project Adventure

It also has a custom wrap that features a map of the United States as a suggestion of all the adventuring potential that lies within. 

One could look at these trucks and say none of these builds are particularly extreme or ambitious—but that's not really the point.

Nissan Frontier Project 72X Graphics

They do show, however, that with some simple upgrades the new Frontier has lots of potential, and in the right hands the Nissan can be every bit as cool as a Tacoma or Ranger.

Want more Hardbody action? Here's why the old Nissan pickup is already a classic.

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