This Nissan Leaf-Powered 1987 Nissan Sunny Truck Is an EV Swap Done Right
This Nissan Sunny celebrates the best of the Minitruck era while adding a modern tuner twist, built for the 2022 SEMA show.
EV-swapped classics are and will remain controversial builds for most enthusiasts. Some folks argue it takes the soul away from a vintage car, others argue that it makes the classic car experience a lot better. In the case of this 1987 Nissan Sunny pickup truck with a Nissan Leaf drivetrain done up by Tommy Pike Customs, I think it’s been seriously improved.
Minitrucks used to be a fairly large part of the aftermarket scene, becoming something of a counterculture to ‘90s and ‘00s hot rodding. The Nissan Hardbody, early Frontier, ‘90s Toyota Tacoma, and any truck that fell into that size class could become a minitruck. The style has fallen out of vogue since the late ‘00s but has a strong cult following. The Nissan Sunny that this build is based on is prime minitruck territory.
TPC, the shop that built the truck, is a prolific custom shop based in South Carolina that builds just about anything but has a special talent for custom trucks. Normally minitrucks are slammed to the ground and inspired by hot rods, this build by TPC has some racing inspiration in the classic BRE livery and Hakosuka GT-R body kit. Those neat wheels are Rotiform Aerodiscs with a custom TPC sticker package. It’s also appropriately low but not slammed.
The most interesting part of the conversion is the mechanical details. The truck retains the stock manual gearbox and uses an adapter to fit the electric motor directly to the transmission. This means the truck retains its live rear axle and uses a custom aluminum driveshaft to transfer drive to the rear. The motor and battery are taken directly from a Nissan Leaf with no modifications.
Finishing the treatment is the complete front suspension from an S13 Nissan 240SX. With the good suspension, manual gearbox, and rear-wheel-drive this truck is bound to be a riot. There’s hope yet for good EV conversions.
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