Road-legal Nissan Navara-R gets 1000hp

The GT-R engined pick-up seemed a wild idea; now make that a wild, £250k reality…

By Matt Bird / Monday, 6 June 2022 / Loading comments

Some things have lingered longer and more fondly in the memory from the past two years than others; the Nissan Navara-R is certainly one of them. Back in the heady days of May 2020, when a lockdown was a novelty and meant a few spare garage hours, Steve Biagioni and his SB Motorsport team planned to put a GT-R engine in a Navara pickup. As if that wasn’t ambitious enough, the VR38DETT V6 in question was originally intended for a drift car, so instead of the standard 550hp it was making more like 1,000hp…

Which, to many, probably seemed another ambitious lockdown project as we all had in the spring of 2020, like learning a language or mastering the souffle. But here we are, almost exactly two years later, with the SB Motorsport Navara-R complete and ready to be shown to attendees at both the Isle of Man TT and Goodwood Festival of Speed. They’ll even build you your own one, so pleased are the guys with what’s been made, but we’ll come back to that bit later.

First we should probably deal with the very fact that a road-legal, 1,000hp Nissan Navara exists. And you thought this much power in a GT-R was a bit daft. The engine itself is now 4.1-litres, taking 160 hours and a host of special parts – Garrett turbos, Tomei cams, Forge intercooler and so on – to build. The GR6 dual-clutch transmission has been rebuilt by Dodson Motorsport in New Zealand with heavy-duty gears; suspension has been upgraded by KW V4 coilovers; the brakes are now by Alcon and the 20-inch BBS wheels are bespoke to this build. SB themselves built unique turrets so the GT-R subframes could fit, and the bodywork to cloak it all was concocted by Sterling Automotive then assembled by AP Hollings & Sons. Clearly a huge amount of time and effort has gone into the Navara-R build; a 1,000hp R35 engine is an achievement in itself, leave alone making it work in a pick-up.

Biagioni said of finishing the Navara: “Everyone involved in the build-up and exposure of this project has been amazing and I can’t thank them enough for their help and enthusiasm. I’m so excited to finally unveil this project for the public and let them see it in person!” Which is the point things stand to get really interesting, because if you’re one of those people who sees it over the next few weeks and fancies your own Navara-R, SB Motorsport will build one. For, um, £250,000. But at least the amount of work invested isn’t in any doubt. And without any logos or sponsors on it, the Navara might be quite unassuming given the state of some pick-ups out there. Positively understated for 1,000hp, in fact…

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