The Japanese premium automaker has decided to rekindle its racing history by visiting the upcoming Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance with a crafted concept car.
The only issue is the Retro Prototype 9 Racer has no historical model to take inspiration from – let alone be inspired by the manufacturer’s vintage racing machines of the 1930s. It’s an exquisite retro racer that has nothing to do with Infiniti’s distant past, since there is actually none. Infiniti – if you know your auto trivia – was established back in 1989 so it has no rich and long-standing racing history. Don’t get yourself tricked by this beautiful depression-era prototype – it’s modern to the core. “It started as a simple thought,” said Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti’s senior vice president of global design. “What if we found a car, down at the southern tip of Japan, buried deep in the barn, hidden from all eyes for 70 years? What if in this car we found the seed of passion planted during our first Japanese Grand Prix and the power and artistry of Infiniti today? What would this discovery look like?”
It’s been envisioned by the automaker’s Atsugi design studio in Japan, built by Nissan’s Oppama factory and developed by Nissan’s Autech division – which created a special build team that made use of a mix of modern manufacturing processes as well as traditional hand forming and assembly. For example – the aluminum tail was hand-crafted, and set on a grid of laser-cut steel. The powertrain follows the same recipe – all-electric setup with rear-mounted motor packs 148 horsepower, and with a mere 1,962 pounds to displace, the concept is capable of hitting 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds, according to the automaker. There’s a catch here as well – it should be a handful to drive, because it rides on leaf springs and solid axles, as well as period-correct narrow tires.