Home » This Truck Doesn’t Exist: Cold Start

This Truck Doesn’t Exist: Cold Start

Frontieropensky02 Source
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The truck you see before you doesn’t exist. The idea for it certainly existed at some point, but it never got much further off the ground than that. It’s not generated by some artificial intelligence trained by scraping other people’s work, nor is it the work of one mad photochopper. The Nissan Frontier Open Sky was developed, shot, promoted, and reported on, but never actually made it to showrooms. Weird, right?

Frontier open sky 04 Source

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

The Nissan Frontier Open Sky isn’t that radical, but it is a product of Nissan’s weird sunroof era. Remember the piggy bank Maxima, the “just put these skylights anywhere” Quest, and the truly massive glass apparatus found on the XTrail? You cats in America never got the last one, but trust me, it was great. Anyway, the idea was that Nissan would just cut a chunk out of the Frontier midsize pickup truck’s roof and bung in a Webasto-style affair. Think Jeep SkySlider, but less janky.

Frontier open sky 01 Source

For one reason or another, the Frontier Open Sky was canned. Be it rumors of water leaks or rumors of compromised structural integrity, something caused Nissan to deem this huge sunroof not suitable for public consumption. It’s a shame because having a fixed roof is only really brilliant in race cars or vehicles you expect to track. Otherwise, give me a view of the moon on clear nights.

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Frontier open sky 06 Source

The absence of, um, existence makes the Frontier Open Sky feel a bit like the Pontiac G8 ST, except there seemed like an actual chance of it happening. Brochures were composed, press releases were issued, production was touted, and it even got a spot in Motor Trend. The magazine reported that this truck would be on sale in autumn of 2002 as a 2003 model, summing it up as, “This is hardly the greatest innovation in truck-building history, but you have to admit that it’s pretty cool for a manufacturer.” It’s pretty cool, but it’s also pretty tragic that outside of the report, not much aside from unusually high-resolution press shots on Nissan’s media site survived. Talk about hanging by a thread. I guess the morals of the story here are that the Frontier Open Sky might’ve been too awesome to live, but also that photos of obscure cars of the aughts could effectively become lost media at the drop of a hat. In 20 years, maybe we’ll just think we imagined the beach.

(Photo credits: Nissan)

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Tommy Helios
Tommy Helios
1 year ago

“having a fixed roof is only really brilliant in race cars or vehicles you expect to track. Otherwise, give me a view of the moon on clear nights.”

Never buy a VAG product then. If you see a sunroof on a VW just walk away.
-your resident VW apologist.

W124
W124
1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Helios

I have a -97 Audi with a sunroof and never any leaks or other problems. Maybe I’m just lucky.

Tommy Helios
Tommy Helios
1 year ago
Reply to  W124

You got lucky or it was never parked outside prior to your ownership. VAG makes sunroof drains designed for people who like to clean them every time they fill up with gas.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Helios

Yep, every single person I know who has owned a VW with a sunroof in the last 15 years has had it leak.

Tommy Helios
Tommy Helios
1 year ago

My mk5 sportwagon had a pano roof and smelled so bad from the leaks @Stephen de Riel gossin would have given me a crispy stack just to own it.

MikuhlBrian
MikuhlBrian
1 year ago

Another one that developed, shot, promoted, and reported on but never made it to production was the 1990 Chevrolet Beretta convertible.

https://live.staticflickr.com/3543/3356245791_5c39de855a_z.jpg

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 year ago

I test drove a Jeep Liberty with the sky-slider back in 2010 or so. I genuinely loved the feature, even though I knew it would probably be a pain in the ass when it inevitably leaked.

I hated nearly everything else about that Liberty though. It’s rare that an ergonomic issue can brick an entire car, but the center console protruding into the driver’s footwell made it impossible to get comfortable; to get your foot on the gas pedal your leg and hip needs to do some real awkward positioning.

A tangent I know, but it’s the first thing I think of when I see a roof like this.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
1 year ago

To be fair, the Jeep Liberty was always an also-ran. It had so much potential. But then never really made it to the goal line, when the team needed a win.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 year ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

I actually don’t mind the first generation, even though it seems maligned by those (fairly) that loved the Cherokee.

That second generation was some cost-cut Cerberus era garbage though.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
1 year ago

Too bad they never made them 🙁

Also, the 318ti was available with a canvas sunroof in the late 90s, just before the Frontier came out 😛

Also sad we never got the X-Trail

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
1 year ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

A coworker had one of those 318ti’s back in the mid-2000s. It was a nightmare in the Houston heat, and a nightmare in the Houston rainstorms. My coworker drove it to work on stormy days because the office parking garage afforded it protection, and his wife would drive it on sunny days because she loved the open top experience.

Paul B
Paul B
1 year ago

Fun fact about the XTrail’s sunroof:

If you had a cargo deck on the roof rails, there wasn’t enough clearnance to open the sunroof.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul B

Oh yeah that’s right, the X-Trail’s sunroof tilts, while the Forester’s doesn’t 🙁

The cargo deck won’t let you tilt the sunroof, but you should still be able to slide it, right? 😉

06dak
06dak
1 year ago

The demise of the G8 ST is one of the greatest automotive tragedies in my 40-ish year lifetime…

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
1 year ago

I’ve never understood these roofs, when open they only provide about 20% more than a glass panel moon roof, but when closed they look 100% bigger

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
1 year ago

It’s like some weird automotive card trick. Suggest we have Torch investigate.

Jacob Rippey
Jacob Rippey
1 year ago

Considering how well things are going for Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet owners regarding their tops (edit: it’s not going well), perhaps this was a blessing in disguise that this was DOA.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
1 year ago

Perhaps Nissan simply realized they didn’t go anywhere near far enough.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
1 year ago

there ain’t much cooler to me than a well built truck with a bad ass sunroof. looking at you Toyota Sprout or whatever they end up naming you.

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
1 year ago

Piggy bank Maxima! How have I never heard that name for it?

World24
World24
1 year ago

It sure sounds like someone from Nissan jumped ship to Jeep and said “here, use this idea!” for not only the Liberty, but the Wrangler too. This was from 2002! Sheesh.

Last edited 1 year ago by World24
Citrus
Citrus
1 year ago
Reply to  World24

Didn’t that Liberty leak like [thing that leaks a lot]?

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
1 year ago
Reply to  Citrus

Wouldn’t that have been hard to tell what with Liberty’s spending so much time indoors having their engines replaced?
(Source: Anecdotal from two people I know who bought new Liberty’s circa 2004 and had to have the engines replaced within 2 to 3 years if memory serves)

Dom
Dom
1 year ago
Reply to  Citrus

Like a sieve

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
1 year ago
Reply to  Dom

Like the Exxon Valdez

World24
World24
1 year ago
Reply to  Citrus

Probably. Wasn’t around much to actually see it, just read about it on the internet.
The biggest fun though has been after the supplier for the parts went bust around 2016/2017. FCA never bothered to find another supplier, and I think virtually every part for it has been bought already, so if a Liberty leaks…. Big oof.

Last edited 1 year ago by World24
DysLexus
DysLexus
1 year ago
Reply to  Citrus

Like a man post prostatectomy. Not so much an outright leak, but more like a constant dribble.

LTDScott
LTDScott
1 year ago
Reply to  World24

I mean sliding ragtops existed LONG before this Frontier, and the Wrangler is more like a standard convertible than this.

https://editorial.pxcrush.net/carsales/general/editorial/car1-bfr7.jpg

Last edited 1 year ago by LTDScott
World24
World24
1 year ago
Reply to  LTDScott

You’re right on the ragtop part, but I’m more in reference to the Wrangler (since 2018) being offered with a virtually same sliding ragtop, not just a normal soft-top, as the Frontier/Liberty/Bettle etc.

LTDScott
LTDScott
1 year ago
Reply to  World24

Ah, I forgot about the sliding ragtop option on hardtops.

BlueCruiser
BlueCruiser
1 year ago
Reply to  World24

Worked on the wangler one, can say that it was better than the liberty top. By a country mile

World24
World24
1 year ago
Reply to  BlueCruiser

Might be better, but let’s hope this supplier doesn’t go bust and leave a bunch of Wrangler owners SOL!

BlueCruiser
BlueCruiser
1 year ago
Reply to  World24

Well so far there’s no class action for the wrangler top LOL. ASC made the top for the liberty, and went bankrupt in the mid 2010s? And if Webasto goes bust, I think bronco owners are going to have a worse time than jeep owners

World24
World24
1 year ago
Reply to  BlueCruiser

I thought ASC was still around? Huh. I knew the company that built the Liberty’s did go around 2016, just never knew the name.
And uh, yeah, I definitely think Bronco owners would have a worse time in that case. Didn’t even know they did the Wrangler’s too!

Last edited 1 year ago by World24
Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 year ago
Reply to  World24

Nissan had a similar power retracting fabric sunroof arrangement on the Pao back in 1989

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
1 year ago

Insurance was like, “The safety of a truck and ease of theft of a convertible, cha-ching!”

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
1 year ago

Holy LeCar Batman! I did not know the Nissan Renault “alliance” when that deep.

CSRoad
CSRoad
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Stock

I was thinking of the Renault 17 Gordini Convertible from 1974. It had a hard plastic over-roof for winter. My mother owned one and loved it.

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