As Speedhunters, we always try to stay tuned into what’s happening in the automotive world. Whether its getting tips from readers or hunting around our favorite forums for cool builds, there’s always something interesting to be found out there.
Sometimes though, we come across cool stuff in the most unusual ways. Take this little pickup truck for example.
I was recently doing a Google search for some general information on Nissan’s RB engines when I came across a link to a thread on S10Forum.com. Yes, that’s S-10 as in GM’s popular mini-truck built from the early ’80s through the mid ’00s. Why was this popping up in a search on Nissan engines? I was so intrigued that I immediately read the thread from start to finish.
The S-10 and it’s GMC cousin the Sonoma have long been popular engine swap candidates due to their light weight and accommodating engine bays. 99% of the time it’s the venerable small block Chevy V8 that’s used for these swaps, but here I was looking at something much different.
This particular GMC Sonoma out of Michigan was indeed powered by a Nissan RB motor – originally an RB20DET and now an RB25DET. As I read through the build log though, it was clear that the swap was just one part of this project.
What’s was even more impressive is the fact that the owner did everything himself in his own workshop. That includes the engine swap, body work, chassis fabrication, and more.
Speaking of the chassis, the use of Nissan components spreads far beyond just what’s in the engine bay. In fact, the entire rear suspension assembly from a 300ZX was outfitted to the rear of the truck.
That means that not only was the Sonoma’s factory live axle replaced by the Z’s independent rear suspension, but it also got the Z’s rear disc brakes as well. There also plans to fit Z suspension and brakes up front.
Another view showing the rear suspension with airbags installed.
When the truck is “laid out” as mini-truckers like to call it, the rear wheels camber in quite aggressively. This is of course something you won’t see on one of these trucks with the factory rear suspension.
A set of vents were molded into the hood to bring more air through, as well as to give the truck a slightly more tuner car-inspired look.
A new set of wheels was also thrown on, replacing the stock R32 wheels that were on the truck prior to this.
The Sonoma is anything but a trailer queen. In fact it actually gets used for towing regularly…
…just as a pickup truck should.
With the extra power from the RB, a wider wheel and tire setup was necessary in the rear.
In order to properly fit wit the wider wheels and tires in the rear, the stock bed was swapped out for one from a stepside truck.
Before it was completed though, the new bed went under the knife to be widened even more.
Looks pretty aggressive, no?
A set of taillights from an R33 Skyline were installed as well. Personally I think I prefer the look of the stock tails, but these do go along with the Skyline theme.
One more engine view. With this setup the truck ran 13.8 ET in the quarter mile on street tires. Not bad for an airbagged mini-truck, but there are bigger plans in the works. More specifically, an Rb30 with a T88 turbine…
If you’d like to follow along or see more photos from the project, head over to the build thread on the S10Forum .