There are two types of automobile fans in the world at any given point of time – one who loves the modern day cars and one who loves the shape and machinery of classic cars, from the 50s or 60s. If you ask us, we would say that there are few automobiles are as beautiful as the classic cars and specially the open-wheel grand prix cars of the 1940s, '50s and '60s.
The machines from the past were simple, and the purposeful design of these cars gave them their beauty. Inspired from these classic machines is the new Infiniti Prototype 9, that was teased earlier this week. The company has now unveiled the concept ahead of debut next week at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
As per Infiniti, the idea behind this car was purely to see how would a 1940s Infiniti grand prix car would look like? And so was born the Prototype 9 which blends old and new, with classic lines hiding a modern all-electric powertrain. On the first go, anyone would be mistaken to think the Infiniti car as an actual 1940s grand prix car with a silver paint job, similar to that of German cars.
But this Japanese car has an Infiniti-styled grille, differentiating it with actual race cars. Everything else, from the thin bias-ply tyres wrapped over center-locking wire wheels to the bulging screws around the driver's seat, is a retro race car inspired design. The car was designed and built by a number of different departments within Infiniti and Nissan.
The outer steel body panels were all shaped and hammered by hand, while the bare cockpit houses a thin seat, three gauges, few switches and a gear selector along with the steering wheel. The three gauges are fixed into an aluminum hub in the centre of the steering wheel. This simple design actually went through the hands of a number of designers and engineers who wanted to have a hand in the project.
Underneath the big hood is the prototype electric motor and battery sourced from Nissan's Advanced Powertrain Department. The duo combines a 148 horsepower and 320 Nm of torque to the rear wheels. That's enough power to send the 1000 kg from 0 – 100 kmph in just 5.5 seconds. Top speed is projected at 170 kmph. There's only enough juice in the battery for about 20 minutes of flat-out racing.
The mechanicals of the Prototype 9 are sorted too and the handmade steel body rests on a steel ladder-frame chassis. The front suspension is a rigid axle with transverse leaf spring while the rear uses a De Dion axle, also with a transverse leaf spring. There's no power steering and no brake booster for the four-wheel disc brakes.
People who are thinking to see this brilliant concept as a production car will have to rest their hopes as it will not see any light of the day from Infiniti or Nissan. But the Prototype 9 seems like the perfect fit for Pebble Beach and Monterey Car Week.