Nissan Armada Snow Patrol and 370Zki Roadster concepts debut at Chicago Auto Show

You’ll wish you could park these in your snowy, icy driveway.

The Nissan Armada Snow Patrol towing the Nissan 370Zki.
The Nissan Armada Snow Patrol towing the Nissan 370Zki. –Nissan

It’s the middle of winter in the Windy City, and Nissan took the opportunity to introduce two crazy winter concept cars: The Nissan Armada Snow Patrol and the Nissan 370Zki Roadster, which are both on display at this year’s Chicago Auto Show.

The Armada Snow Patrol is a stock Nissan Armada with a few enhancements to make it a winter-ready vehicle. It starts with a Pro Comp lift kit that gives it a 3-inch suspension lift. This made room for a set of 35-inch Pro Comp MT2 extreme off-road tires. Nissan mounted those tires on 20×9 Cognito Series 61 wheels with a Satin Black-milled finish. There are M-1A running boards on the sides and a Defender rack on the roof.

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Up front, there’s a Smittybilt off-road bumper with a grille protector bar and winch mount for a 12,000-pound winch. A roof-mounted DR36 double row LED light bar sits on the roof, and there are 5-inch grille-mounted LED round motorsports lights to make sure you can see in even the worst winter weather.

“While the 2018 Armada drives like a luxury sedan, it has a long off-road heritage as the Nissan Patrol, a global expedition vehicle,” said Billy Hayes, a division vice president with Nissan North America. “As part of our celebration of winter at the Chicago Auto Show, we wanted to remind our growing family of Armada owners and enthusiasts that this full-size SUV stands ready to take you to the mountains, or at least safely through Chicago streets covered in lake effect snow.”

Inside are leather seats in a pearl color with cement color inserts, cobalt wings and contrast stitching, and the Armada Snow Patrol logo on the seatbacks. The finishing touch is a custom body wrap by Icon Image Graphics with a big Armada Snow Patrol Logo right on the hood.

While the Nissan Armada Snow Patrol looks like a car you could drive to work, the Nissan 370Zki Roadster looks more than a little bit crazy. First, it’s a 370Z convertible modified for extreme winter weather, which even the most hardcore New Englander will admit is unusual.

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The 370Zki is pronounced “370-ski” and turns a stock roadster into a snow-carving beast. It started with removing the car’s entire drivetrain. Next, Nissan installed a custom lift kit to raise it up three inches. Custom mountings for the rear suspension springs with 3-inch custom spacers were designed to mount snow tracks to the wheel hubs. They even had to reroute the brake lines and exhaust systems to fit under the vehicle. Finally, the rear wheels are modified to make enough room for 4-foot-long Dominator Tracks.

The front suspension system required modifications, too, with spacers attached to the front wheel hubs. The engine and transmission then had to be custom-mounted and a front skid plate was built to keep the car from being damaged by the snow. The easy part of the conversion is a custom body wrap with headlights tinted yellow to look like a pair of ski goggles.

“The Nissan 370Zki continues our recent tradition of bringing imaginative winter vehicle concepts to the Chicago Auto Show. With the Nissan Z’s long heritage of motorsports competition, the 370Zki seemed like a natural combination,” said Michael Bunce, vice president of product planning at Nissan North America. “Prior to its debut here in Chicago, we put the 370Zki through its paces on the slopes in Wyoming where its performance heritage really came through.”

Yes, Nissan took this thing out into the snow — top-down, of course — and kicked up the powder in Wyoming. It looked ridiculous and amazing and exactly like the kind of thing we’d all do given the chance. Unfortunately, these are concept cars you won’t be able to buy in any Nissan showroom. If you happen to be in Chicago this weekend, they’ll be on display on the auto show floor so you can get a look at the ultimate winter vehicles.

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