The Nissan Leaf’s 147 HP electric motor breathes new life into this Sunny truck.
The Nissan Leaf is a nice little electric car, but it doesn’t compare to this custom-built 1987 Nissan Sunny Pickup EV. At the annual Specialty Equipment Markets Association (SEMA) show, Nissan unveiled this impressive EV conversion powered by the Leaf’s electric motors.
Instead of the typical LS swap, this is a blade-swapping truck designed to showcase two different eras of the Nissan brand. It pays homage to the old Datsun race trucks, complete with red, white and blue colors, while incorporating a fully electric powertrain.
The 1987 Nissan Sunny, owned and built by Tommy Pike Customs in South Carolina, ditched the old little gas engine for a modern electrical system. The truck gets power from the Nissan Leaf’s 40 kWh lithium-ion battery, which makes around 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.
Due to the small size of the Sunny pickup, Pike opted for the Leaf S’s basic electric motor and battery instead of the larger model of current Leaf electric vehicles. Even with that choice, this 1987 Sunny has triple the torque and nearly double the horsepower of the original released in the ’80s.
Better yet, this 1987 Sunny Pickup is a right-hand drive vehicle with the original manual transmission inside. It looks impressive on the outside thanks to the widebody kit and custom built design.
TPC (Tommy Pike Customs) also did an LED lighting conversion and added heavy duty rear leaf springs and front suspension from a Nissan 240SX with coil shocks, disc brakes and more. It’s as modern as it gets while still having that classic ’80s race truck vibe.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen such a conversion from Nissan. Last year, the company revealed an Altima EV from the 1980s, which was also pretty impressive. Unfortunately, this is nothing more than an exciting concept for the SEMA program. Nissan did not announce plans to offer an electric Leaf engine package for enthusiasts to create their own custom vehicles.
At least at the SEMA show of years, Ford introduces its Eluminator e-crate engine, and we expected a similar announcement from other manufacturers this year. Still, this all-electric 1987 Sunny Pickup Truck EV is one for the books.