December 4, 2022

Mechanic Escape

Built for the human race

This Nissan Sunny Truck packs a Leaf’s electric powertrain

Nissan will have perhaps one of the coolest vehicles at the upcoming 2022 SEMA show in Las Vegas.

The automaker will present a 1987 Datsun Sunny Truck whose original powertrain has been swapped out for the electric setup from a modern Nissan Leaf. Ford had a similar concept based on a 1978 F-100 pickup at the 2021 SEMA show, and Chevy had one based on a C-10 pickup at 2019’s show.

The electric powertrain from the Leaf consists of a single motor rated at 147 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. That’s about twice the power and three times the torque of the Sunny Truck’s original 4-cylinder.

The build also features the Leaf’s standard 40-kwh battery, which in the lightweight Sunny Truck could potentially deliver more range than the 149 miles of the Leaf. Nissan hasn’t provided an estimate.

1987 Datsun Sunny Truck with Nissan Leaf powertrain

1987 Datsun Sunny Truck with Nissan Leaf powertrain

Nissan never sold the Sunny Truck in the U.S. This one was sourced from Japan, hence the right-hand-drive configuration.

The truck belongs to Tommy Pike, owner of South Carolina-based Tommy Pike Customs, and he and his workshop crew handled the conversion. He paired the electric motor with a manual transmission, a move that required a custom bellhousing adapter. He also installed a custom driveshaft and a custom aluminum box for the battery.

Nissan fans of a certain age will immediately recognize the color combination Pike applied to his pickup. It’s inspired by the livery used on Baja racers fielded by Brock Racing Enterprises in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

This year’s SEMA show is scheduled for Nov. 1-4. Nissan will also use the show to present its new Z GT4 race carĀ and a Z with Nismo accessories.