As a passionate truck owner, the one vehicle that immediately produces a spike of murderous envy when I see one is an off-road van. All the ruggedness of the truck with infinitely more storage options, plus the goofy coolness of a rectangle on wheels. They’re the perfect bugout vehicles; the finest overlanding rigs you could own.
And this Nissan cargo van turned diesel-burning off-road masher is the most envy-inducing of all.
Nissan built the thing in collaboration with Guy Fier…I mean, Ian Johnson, a TV personality known for his role on Xtreme Off-Road, a TV show that is pretty much exactly what you’d expect.
They took a stock Nissan XV 2500 cargo van, lifted it, dropped in an 8-cylinder Cummins turbo-diesel engine, as well as the transmission, and the four-wheel-drive system from a Nissan Titan pickup. Johnson added a lift to give this beast 22 inches of ground clearance. It rides around on absurdly big 37-inch tires. It has bumpers that could bust through a brick wall, a 10,000-pound winch to haul itself out of the inevitable ditch, and enough lighting to be seen from space.
The paint job is hideous, so let’s ignore that and pretend that it was instead painted in a nice, mellow tan color. Now picture roof racks above for the hauling of kayaks or big surfboards or bicycles. Now imagine smirking at Sprinter van owners helpless before the snow as you trundle past them confidently, living a far extremer version of #vanlife.
I want one badly.
Oh, by the way, the innards of this beast are filled with pretty much anything you’d ever need to get out of trouble. Air compressors, spare tires, recovery equipment, high-lift jacks, a freakin’ welder—you name it. No seriously, name it, it’s probably in there.
Of course, this is a one-off concept kinda deal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come close to owning one of these yourself. The bones of the van are untouched. Quigley, a Pennsylvania-based conversion shop specializes in turning ho-hum 2WD models of the stock Nissan cargo van into rock crawling, mud-spitting overlanders. You buy the van, they make it burly (They’ll also outfit Ford and GM vans, if you’re so inclined).
This begs the question though: Nissan—are you listening? You make the NV van, you make a burly Titan 4×4 pickup. Why are you leaving it to the aftermarket to put two-and-two together here? Sell one of these cargo vans as stripped down 4x4s and I’ll camp out overnight at the nearest dealership to get one. Especially if it’s diesel.
Vanagons are awesome, the go-anywhere Syncros even more so, but a turbo-diesel mud-bogging cargo van? That’s the stuff of overlanding dreams.
Photo/clip courtesy of Nissan