- The Infiniti Prototype 9 concept reimagines the 1940s grand prix racer. Its prototype electric drivetrain offers a glimpse at Nissan’s future EV tech. The car will be on display at 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California.
Every wonder how cool it would be to stumble upon a treasure trove of lost race cars hidden away in a dusty barn like a time capsule from a bygone era?
I certainly have.
And as it turns out, so have the folks at Nissan and Infiniti.
The Japanese automaker and its Hong Kong-based premium subsidiary have built a concept car called the Infiniti Prototype 9 that reimagines the 1940s grand prix racer.
“We discussed the idea of ‘chancing’ upon an unrecognized race car, hidden away for decades in a barn, deep in the Japanese countryside,” Infiniti senior vice president of global design, Alfonso Albaisa, said in a statement. “We wanted to explore what this looked like, what it would have been made of.”
The Prototype 9 is the perfect amalgam of old world charm and state-of-the-art technology.
“Open-wheeled racers of the age were beautiful machines, elegant and powerful and with a wonderful purity of purpose,” Albaisa said. “It’s an automotive fantasy, but the notion captured our imaginations enough to put pencil to paper.”
The long slender body is reminiscent of the front-engined Grand Prix racers of the late 1940s and early 1950s. However, designers have managed to also incorporate signature Infiniti styling elements like the”double-arch” front grille and “shark gills” behind the front wheels.
The Prototype 9 was built on a steel ladder frame with steel body panels hand shaped by Takumi, Nissan’s master artisans who are famous for hand-building engines destined for its GT-R sports car.
However, what lurks under the Prototype 9’s hood is anything but old school. For propulsion, Infiniti turned to Nissan’s Advanced Powertrain Department who volunteered its latest all-electric drive unit.
This includes a 30 kWh high-voltage battery paired with a prototype electric motor that the company says has not yet been featured on any production vehicle. (This is perhaps a hint at the new Nissan LEAF powertrain.)
In total, the electric motor produces 148 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque while driving the rear wheels through a single-speed transmission. According to Nissan, the Prototype 9 can hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 105.6 mph.
The striking concept car will be on display at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California August 20.