The Suzuki Jimny, praised for its compact size and off-road capabilities, has become a favourite canvas for tuning companies seeking to create unique and eye-catching designs. Examples include several Jimnys dressed as G-Classes and most recently, two crossovers channelling the spirits of two rally legends from the past. However, a new project has emerged from an unexpected source, showcasing the ingenuity of students from the Nippon Automobile College, or NATS, at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon.

Meet the NATS Shakotan Jimny J1, a distinctive creation that catches the eye with its resemblance to the Toyota Mega Cruiser, often dubbed as Japan's Hummer. What sets this project apart is not its affiliation with a tuning company but rather its origin as a student-built endeavour.

The NATS team took an unconventional approach by combining the chassis of the Suzuki Escudo SUV with the first-generation Suzuki Jimny. More precisely, two first-gen Jimnys. The result is a unique combination that features a low-riding profile and the Escudo's V6 petrol engine under the bonnet. 

The exterior of the unusual build is particularly intriguing, crafted by seamlessly merging two Jimny units with the accompanying four headlights at the front. The utilisation of air suspension ensures the body-dropped chassis hugs the ground. The attention-grabbing aesthetic is further enhanced by Toyo-branded tires and custom wheels from iMLA.

As mentioned, power comes from a 2.5-litre V6 engine and, as far as we know, it’s left unmodified. This means it still generates around 160 bhp but considering the vehicle’s ride height, power is probably not that important. In terms of interior, the students kept the cabin mostly unchanged but the boot space has been repurposed to house a powerful sound system from Diecock, featuring a total of 12 speakers and two substantial bass speakers.