Boredom and the means to alleviate it is a powerful combination. Imagine you have a workshop. There is a Nissan Navara bakkie. There is a spare GT-R engine just lying around. You are in England, so it’s raining. Nothing to do. You get the idea.
So you build a Nissan Navara bakkie with a 746kW engine because you were bored. Not quite. The workshop is actually SB Motorsport, a rather extreme racing shop 80km east of London. The reason they had a spare GT-R engine lying around also shows just how extreme SB Racing is.
SB stands for Stephen Biagioni, known in the world of petrol fumes and shredded tyres as Baggsy. Baggsy had to make a monster car for Battle Drift II in 2017. He started with a Nissan GT-R, but added some extreme American muscle in the form of a 7.5-litre Chevy LS V-8 with a Garrett turbo, thundering out a massive 895kW. That is how extreme SB Motorsport is. And that is why there was a spare GT-R drivetrain lying around the workshop.
The idea for the insane bakkie, or Navara-R, started at the same time as the drifting GT-R but was limited to paper. Serious development work started in November last year, but it had to take a backseat to racing and drifting. Then the whole world shut down, including racing. So there were these bored guys with a workshop and a spare engine . . .
Building a monster bakkie like this takes more than “chuck in the engine and start her up”. The body had to be lifted from the Navara’s frame and the new motor and gearbox put in place. They added new KW suspension to keep the bakkie on the road with all that power. To the Navara’s frame they added front and rear subframes from the GT-R. They ended up using all the GT-R bits they had.
The Navara-R uses the GT-R’s all-wheel-drive system. The engine has been heavily tuned to give 746kW, which pushes the power through an overhauled gearbox. But the plan is to keep the Navara-R street-legal despite its power and setup. It won’t be a bare-bones racing car on a bakkie chassis. All the factory comfort and luxury items are still there.
On the looks department, SB had a conundrum. Should it keep the bakkie looking as normal as possible, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, ready to unleash its fangs as the robot turns green? Or should the Navara-R be as mean and ripped as its power and heritage demand? In the end, they settled for something in between. The bakkie is not finished yet, but the render shows a plain black bakkie with lime green detailing. Not for off-roading, to be sure. The thing is low on the ground, perhaps space to slide in a peanut butter sandwich underneath. The tops of the tyres are hidden inside the wheel arches. A pronounced splitter in front and enormous spoiler at the back sort of gives the game away.
The idea is that you could go shopping and fetch the kids from school, and still surprise everyone on a quarter-mile drag.
Baggsy explains: “In theory, it’ll make the Navara handle like a Japanese supercar. It’s going to be slightly longer and slightly wider than a GT-R. There’s not much difference in wheelbase between the two. I think it’ll be the coolest truck on the road.”