The Nissan NV Cargo X project vehicle, arguably the most extreme version of Nissan Commercial Vehicles’ flagship NV Cargo van ever created, will make its world auto show debut at the upcoming 2017 Chicago Auto Show. Built in partnership with legendary off-road builder Ian Johnson, the NV Cargo X stands more than seven-and-a-half feet tall on 37-inch tires and is powered by a Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel transplanted from a Nissan TITAN XD full-size pickup.
Starting with a stock NV 2500 HD Cargo, Johnson and his team set out to build a custom vehicle that could handle everything. While the NV Cargo’s front independent double-wishbone suspension and multi-leaf rear suspension is responsive and rides smooth through even the toughest workdays, the NV Cargo X required something a little more radical—including a custom-modified off-road suspension system with enough suspension travel and wheelwell clearance to fit a set of 37-inch General Grabber X3 tires. While the front suspension is 100% custom, the rear retains the NV Cargo’s standard leaf spring design.
The Cummins 5.0-liter V8 Turbo Diesel borrowed from Nissan’s TITAN XD pickup is rated at 310 horsepower and, more importantly for rock crawling, a hefty 555 lb-ft of torque. The TITAN XD also donated its heavy-duty Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission and advanced 4-wheel drive system.
Once the front sheet metal was reinstalled following the engine transplant, other exterior modifications included installation of a custom off-road LED Lighting System, 10,000-lb. front-mounted winch and a tube bumper with custom skid plate. A special black-and-white custom wrap finished the exterior.
With 234 cubic feet of available cargo space, the build team decided to go all out—equipping it with all the goodies usually found in an off-road support vehicle. The custom build-out utilized the NV Cargo’s standard reinforced mounting points and standard cargo containment system. Ultimately, the cargo bay was filled with an onboard air system, fluid containment and storage, full-size spare, recovery rope, recovery tracks, high-lift jack, portable welder and the always important tool bag.