INFINITI has announced that they will be showcasing the retro inspired “Prototype 9” at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance during fabled Monterey Car Week. With this all new creation, INFINITI, which was founded in 1989, has given us a glimpse to what one of their race cars may have looked like if the company had existed back in the 1940’s. Just from one look it is easy to imagine this elegant racer pacing the track at the renowned Monaco Grand Prix.
The sleek time honored open wheeled Prototype 9 is a magnificent celebration of INFINITI’s creative craftsmanship, the retro inspired vehicle even went as far as to use original production techniques that would have been utilized in yesteryear production. Modern fixtures include a prototype electric motor from Nissan’s advanced powertrain department, giving a unique contrast to the old fashioned techniques which were applied to build the Prototype 9. One major nod to the past is the hand beaten panels created by a team of Takumi (the master artisans at Nissan).
“Prototype 9 celebrates the tradition of ingenuity, craftsmanship and passion of our forebears at Nissan Motor Corporation, on whose shoulders we stand today. It started as a discussion: What if INFINITI had created a race car in the 1940s? If one were to imagine an open-wheeled INFINITI racer on the famous circuits of the era, such as Japan’s Tamagawa Speedway, what would that look like? The sketches were stunning and the idea so compelling that we had to produce a prototype. As other departments became aware of this, they volunteered their time to create a working vehicle.” – Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President, Global Design
The Prototype 9 was inspired by the initial inception of Japanese motorsport, and specifically the Prince R380, which will have it’s only known survivor on display during Monterey Car Week at The Quail. The R380 is well praised as it was regarded as “Japan’s original builder of premium automobiles” having set multiple land speed records and also emerged as victor at the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix at the Fuji Speedway. In August 1966 Prince Motor Company became a common ancestor of INFINITI when it was merged with Nissan Motors.
“We like to think that INFINITI, with its stunning design, high performance capability and forward-looking technology, shares some DNA with the Prince Motor Company, which became part of Nissan Motors. Prototype 9 is a celebration of the artistry and ingenuity inherent in our company.” – Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President, Global Design
Prototype 9 pays homage to INFINITI’s 1989 founding and current model line of “Q” and “QX” names. In Japanese the number “9” is pronounced “kyuu” which is almost identical to the English pronunciation of the letter “Q.”
In all other dimensions the less than 2,000lb racer is highly characteristic of a vintage aeroplane; examples include an exposed cockpit, wire spoke wheels, and an elegant sleek bonnet. The interior features a single black leather bucket seat with contrast red stitching handmade of the highest quality materials combined with outstanding Japanese craftenship.
“The beautiful execution of Prototype 9 represents a combination of artistry, craftsmanship and commitment to a romantic notion of our heritage. It inspired our people to work on Prototype 9 in their own time – as they were completely invested in the project and the details and features originated with them. Prototype 9 has been a labor of love for many of us.” – Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President, Global Design
The Prototype 9’s motor produces just under 150hp and 320nm of torque outputted through a single speed transmission via its rear wheels. Top speed is just over 105 miles per hour with a not to sixty time of 5.5 seconds, with the electric battery permitting just 20 minutes of track time.