Infiniti’s Prototype 9 brings back the classic racer

Infiniti Prototype 9
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Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9

Infiniti isn’t a brand always associated with pushing the envelope either stylistically or in engineering terms, so it’s refreshing to see their open-wheeled electric retro roadster prototype, the Prototype 9, make the light of day.

The Prototype 9 harks back to the grand prix era of the 40s yet with the electric motor it is also a nod towards where the industry is headed. Inspiration comes from the custom-built Prince R380 race car which broke a number of land speed records in 1965 as well as taking overall victory at the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway.

Starting with a sketch by Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President of Global Design, the word started to spread of a special project and it was really the sketch which was the catalyst for a lot of the time, effort, and energy which went into the project. Aeronautical designs are of heavy influence but it’s the long hood and short overhangs which are really a signature of the grand prix racers of old.

 

Finished in a bare sheet-metal skin wrapped around a steel ladder frame, the panels were hammered into shape by a team of Infiniti master craftspeople called ’Takumi’. Japan has a long history of incredible craftsmanship and it’s fantastic to see some of that passion come through in this concept.

It’s really the gauges set in the fixed aluminium hub of the steering wheel which adds a unique touch to the interior.

Inside the Prototype 9 is fitted with black leather with red stitching adding a degree of interest but it’s really the gauges set in the fixed aluminium hub of the steering wheel which adds a unique touch to the interior. Infiniti make note of minimal switchgear which given the nature of the electric motor makes sense, although one of the features which always makes a classic racer interior look so beautiful is the switchgear.

The motor isn’t a token effort either producing 120 kW (148 hp) and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque, with a top speed of 170 kph (105.6 mph), and 0-to-100 kph (0-to-62 mph) time of 5.5 seconds. Under heavy track use the maximum EV range is 20 minutes.

Hopefully we will see more manufacturers build these types of vehicles to remind us all of the beauty of the past, while keeping the passion burning strongly for the future.

It just goes to show how design can inspire and lift a brand beyond the everyday to spark imagination.

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At Privateer Garage we love products with great design, and experiences that are memorable and bring together the tactile nature of print through books and other media, an appreciation for photography, a nod to heritage and style inspired by classic pieces, and travel stories which feed the bug.

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