1987 Nissan Sunny Pickup Gets Heart Transplant from a Leaf EV for SEMA

1987 nissan sunny with leaf powertrain
Nissan Sticks a Leaf Powertrain in a 1987 SunnyNissan
  • For the 2022 SEMA show, Nissan is presenting a 1987 Sunny pickup with an EV conversion done by Tommy Pike Customs.

  • The Sunny now utilizes the 40-kWh battery and 147-hp electric motor from a Nissan Leaf.

  • Completing the Leaf-powered Sunny's look are 17-inch Rotiform wheels, a widebody kit, and a livery inspired by 1970s Datsun race cars.

At last year's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, Ford revealed the F-100 Eluminator concept, a 1978 pickup retrofitted with two electric motors from the Mustang Mach-E GT that married old-school looks with 480 horsepower and 634 pound-feet of torque. For the 2022 edition of SEMA, Nissan follows a similar path, electrifying a classic truck design, albeit with much less power, by shoving a Nissan Leaf powertrain into a 1987 Sunny.

1987 nissan sunny with leaf powertrain

The truck, modified by South Carolina–based Tommy Pike Customs, uses a 40-kWh lithium-ion battery from a base Leaf S, paired with the single motor that's good for 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. That may not sound like a lot, but the Sunny is a small vehicle, and it has approximately twice as much power and three times as much torque as the car's original gas engine produced.


Nissan doesn't say where the electric motor is mounted on the Sunny, but we hope it powers the rear wheels. The electrified pickup apparently retains the original manual transmission too, although Nissan doesn't explain exactly how that works. It also receives the front suspension from a first-generation Nissan 240SX, along with heavy-duty rear leaf springs.

The Sunny looks fantastic thanks to a wide-body kit that accentuates its squared-off design, as well as a red, white, and blue livery that pays homage to Datsuns raced by Brock Racing Enterprises in the 1970s. LED headlights give the '80s classic a modern look, while the 17-inch Rotiform wheels take inspiration from vintage motorsports.

For now, the Leaf-powered Sunny remains a one-off, but maybe Nissan will start offering electric crate motors similar to what Ford does with its Eluminator powertrain.

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