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V8-powered Nissan Frontier, 750-horsepower 370Z storm into SEMA

There's a spunky Kicks build and a kitted-out Titan pickup, too.

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This old dog still has some tricks.

Nissan

If a company wants to make a splash at SEMA, it needs to do something pretty wild. Hundreds of companies bring their best work to the Las Vegas trade show and it's not the easiest task to stand out.

The fine folks at Nissan have delivered. Well, at least in my eyes. The Japanese automaker has four concept vehicles on display at the 2019 SEMA show, but two of them are arguably cooler than the others. The first is a Nissan Frontier, which, despite being a seriously old truck, still has some tricks up its sleeve.

Nissan dropped the typical 4.0-liter V6 and instead dropped in a 5.6-liter V8 from the larger Titan pickup. While a midsize pickup with a V8 is already cool, this Frontier is meant for desert racing, hence the name Desert Runner. Not only did Nissan drop the bigger engine in, it also gave the powerplant a total race-spec rebuild. A turbocharger, customer intercooler, new cams and exhaust system help this usually mundane truck make 600 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque.

Oh, and there's a six-speed manual transmission attached. Very cool, Nissan. Very cool.

To match its newfound power and appetite for the dunes, the suspension got a reworking as well. There's a long-travel front suspension kit with new shocks and coilovers. In the back, new shocks and leaf springs beef the overall suspension up further. A set of 37-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A tires are the proverbial cherry on top. Nissan's build partner, MA Motorsports, fabricated the new body panels to give this pickup the looks needed to match its personality -- and provide clearance for the numerous mechanical updates, too.

Don't worry if trucks aren't your cup of tea. On the sports car side of things, Nissan put together a whopper of a 370Z called the Global Time Attack TT. In collaboration with Z1 Motorsports, Nissan really went to town. The unibody structure was acid-dipped and anything deemed unnecessary for time-attack racing got the axe. From there, a roll cage went in and the teams designed carbon fiber components to make up the aerodynamics package. Some of the stuff was 3D-printed, too.

Two turbochargers are strapped to the 3.7-liter V6 engine and a new six-speed sequential transmission reports for shifting duty. New fuel management and electronics systems further enrich the race-prepped 370Z, as does a Nismo GT-R Pro 1.5-way differential. Rounding out the upgrades are a custom suspension system and Brembo brakes. The cockpit, meanwhile, benefits from a new instrument panel and a quick-release steering wheel. This is a race car, after all.

Nissan plans to take the Global Time Attack TT 370Z racing in the 2020 Time Attack season, so this one isn't merely for show.

What are for show, however, are the brand's final two concepts. Nissan put together a Kicks build for the Need For Speed crowd, called the Street Sport, and it's more than just a stanced ride -- it rocks a custom turbocharger setup for more power. A Titan with a mesmerizing number of Nissan accessories is also part of the party. Clearly, Nissan still knows how to have a good time.

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