If you're looking to journey across rough, rugged back roads, the average pickup truck is one of your better options. If, on the other hand, those roads will wind beyond the very edge of civilization, into one of the modern world's few remaining frontiers, you may want something a bit tougher, something like the all-new Nissan Project Titan. The custom truck is built to the exacting demands of Alaskan travel.
Nissan's Project Titan vision was to build the ultimate Titan for two Wounded Warrior Project veterans to drive on an Alaskan adventure. The automaker started off with two main ingredients: a 2014 Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X truck that it describes as its most capable off-road package and a social media campaign reaching out to its truck fans for help in the design. Beginning in June, Facebook participants voted on 10 areas of customization, resulting in a military-look Titan with serious attitude.
What started off as a nondescript, pure white Titan PRO-4X got armored with an ARB Deluxe Bull Bar up front, giving it a powerful, off-road-ready face. Set within that face is an LED light bar that works with a second LED bar on the roof to illuminate the road ahead after the Alaskan sun drops behind the horizon. Moving back, the "Recon Titan" wrap transforms the body from "snow white" to "digital-age camouflage," providing a distinctly military look that extends onto the ARE camper top. The custom rear bumper is built to match the one up front.
The standard PRO-4X package is already carefully optimized for off-road prowess, combining features like a transfer-case four-wheel drive with low-range 4-LO, an electronic locking rear differential, a Dana 44 rear axle with dual-rate leaf springs, and front skid plates. For the Project Titan, Nissan added a Nismo cold-air intake and rumbling Borla cat-back exhaust system to free up airflow through the 317-hp/385 lb-ft 5.6-liter Endurance V8 engine. The engine fires that output to the Titan PRO-4X 4WD system, onward to the 18-in Fuel Revolver D525 wheels centered inside 35-in Nitto Trail Grappler M/T tires. Those wheels grab dirt below beefy fender flares.
The front tires offer extra traction with the help of a switch-operated ARB air locker. The suspension system benefits from the addition of a 4-in lift kit, Radflow remote-reservoir shocks, PRG end links and upper control arms, and load-leveling AirLift rear airbags that keep the rear suspension level with the front. Whatever type of Alaskan ground is in front of it, this Titan is prepared to handle it.
Even with all that upgraded off-road equipment, the Project Titan may still experience the occasional problem, and out in backcountry Alaska that will likely mean self recovery. The truck gets front and rear Warn Zeon winches to pull itself up and out.
"The robust Titan serves as a great starting point for an adventure of this magnitude," says Fred Diaz, Nissan US sales and marketing operations senior VP. "With the help of Nissan's Facebook fan base, Project Titan is fully equipped for the Alaskan Frontier. I'm very much looking forward to following the Wounded Warrior Project team as they make their way through Alaska behind the wheel of Project Titan."
Man cannot live on truck alone, so Nissan leveraged the Titan PRO-4X's 9,300-lb (4,218-kg) towing capacity in hooking up a Manley ORV Explore camping trailer to the rear hitch. The off-road trailer wears the same wrap, wheels and tires as the truck. Its top-mounted, two-person Tepui tent doesn't ride quite as high as the tent on the Xventure trailer, but it does lift out of the way to free access to a cargo area full of off-grid essentials, such as a cooking equipment, water and tools.
The Project Titan interior may be a second thought to onlookers, but to the two men that will be spending a long, tough journey inside, it's certainly an important piece of the puzzle. The duo will sit on Katzkin leather seat covers and navigate their way through the remote Alaskan backwoods with the help of a Lowrance off-road GPS system with elevation mapping and advanced chart plotting. An eight-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system is there to keep them entertained. The truck's electricals were upgraded with an AMG battery and 250-amp alternator to support its added power demands. In back, a bed slide system makes accessing gear easier.
The Project Titan was air-lifted to Alaska, and Iraqi war veterans David Guzman and Kevin McMahon set out on their grand Alaskan adventure this week. The two are alumni of the Wounded Warrior Project, which assists and empowers injured veterans as they transition back into civilian life. Those interested can follow their trip at Facebook.com/nissantrucks. Nissan will also be documenting it for a YouTube series to be released in the coming months.
After all is said and done, this is one sweet hunk of truck that's found a noble purpose. Unfortunately for anyone else interested in driving one, Nissan has already stated quite plainly that it won't be offering the package for sale. Hopefully, it'll at least bring it to this year's SEMA Show so folks can get a closer look.
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