THE EXTREME CARGO HAULER
Star of XTREME OFF ROAD, this Nissan NV 2500 is the brainchild of that cable TV show. Production facilities for RTM Productions and their POWERNATION shows are a stone’s throw down the road from Nissan North America HQ, in Franklin, Tennessee. Their studio and construction facility is there, and it’s where they build and shoot their project vehicles. If you’ve not watched the RTM suite of “do this, build that” car shows, each show is about the how of the build and what’s behind the scenes of the project. Then the vehicle takes to the open road, in this case Arizona, to begin work.
When approached, Nissan reps had done their homework, understanding the RTM audience and decided to “do something with the NV Cargo Van to show what’s possible and create some excitement,” according to Carl Phillips, regional product manager for trucks and vans at Nissan. The plan was to build the wild- est streetable NV2500 possible. We drove it, briefly, and it is indeed wild, almost requiring a stepladder to enter. Inside it’s a standard NV from the driver’s seat. Elsewhere it’s equipped for hard work anywhere off road.
Starting with the NV Cargo, a body-onframe van that provided engineering inspiration for the new Titan XD and Titan, the add-ons are one hair short of insane. The greatest change was the addition of a Cummins 5.0-liter V8 motor and transmission stolen from one of the development Titan XDS slated to be crushed. “So we had a developed platform, one we could push to the limits,” Phillips said. “We knew the Cummins 5.0-liter would fit as we’d used an NV as a test mule when developing the Titan XD diesel. So we had NV Cargos running around that already had Cummins engines in them. We knew that would work.”
The project evolved with Ian Johnson and the XTREME OFF ROAD crew and it is their proj- ect, not a Nissan parts bin special. XTREME OFF ROAD’S sponsors and partners supplied most of the parts for the vehicle while Johnson and crew performed the modifications and built the van. “It gets quite complex when you’re mixing OE parts and aftermarket parts,” Phillips told us. Taking the suspension to the “Extreme” included integrating Pure Performance Prodigy 2-5/8inch racing shocks on all four corners along with new components to allow for extreme articulation off road. To put the 5.0L Cummins’ power to the ground, Johnson equipped the van with rugged 37-inch General Grabber tires mounted on TR Racing HD Series Beadlocked wheels to allow him to “air down” the tires in rough terrain.
The whole build took about a month, including video production. “When we first saw their concept drawings we all bought into the project,” Phillips explained. “They were a great crew to work with.” UDBG