The Japanese foray into cars came in almost half a century after the first automobile was built. For a brand that is less than 30 years old, vintage has to be earned and Nissan's luxury brand, Infiniti has done that in style. Meet the Prototype 9, a design exercise by Infiniti – Nissan’s luxury division.
It started as a concept when the American marketing division asked Infiniti’s design head Alfonso Albaisa what would an Infiniti barn find look like if it had to be a race car hidden away for decades? With contributions from all the major departments at Nissan, the Prototype 9 has turned out everything the Japanese car maker would have ever wanted.
The Prototype 9 is styled like the quintessential ‘30s racer with its wire wheels, skinny tyres and and the enormously long hood. I am sure it reminds you of the Silver Arrows and the Fiat Corsas that went flying around the half-paved racetracks at breakneck speeds. And it is built like it would have been in those days as well. The Prototype 9 gets a hand-beaten aluminium body with the signature boat tail. It even gets the old-school leaf springs and the disc brakes are hidden behind the large drum camouflage.
It is only the signature chrome grille in the front, the breathing gills on the side and the logo up top that reminds you that it is an Infiniti. But that is not the only modern part. It is powered by the new Nissan Leaf electric powertrain that spins 148bhp of power and close to 350Nm of torque. With 0-60kmph in just over five seconds, the top-speed has been limited at 160kmph and it should be quite a handful with that skinny rubber.
Well, the Prototype 9 stirs up some serious want but Infiniti hasn’t said anything about building any more of them. Because if they did, the Prototype 9 would be the perfect mix of vintage racers and modern tech that money could buy, a lot of money!