Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Infiniti Prototype 9 Shares Modern Classic Racer in Pebble Beach

Photo Credit: Infiniti Motor Company Ltd.



How many of us have envisioned ourselves in a different time or place. To see or relive a moment in history in a manner you would not think possible or perhaps to be present with those we admire or love is to many the ultimate form of exploration. While time travelling is yet to be realized, many of us find ways to capture the essence of the past. This can be quite a difficult feat for those birth came after a time period.

Automotive design has been no stranger to recompile their past for a future creation. At the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, one corporate attendee chose to show up in a mid-20th century costume. A youngish brand born in 1989, Infiniti introduced a 1940s-1950s inspired concept car melding the past, present and future.

Photo Credit: Infiniti Motor Company Ltd.



Classical in appearance, the Infiniti Prototype 9 is a vehicle that adapts its own image to a historical era of motor racing. The Prototype 9's open-wheeled roadster design embodies the sleek shape, long hood and stance that may have roamed grand prix circuits such as Monaco or the Nurburgring.

An after-hours project featuring the investment of time of many Nissan/Infiniti engineers and designers in Japan, the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance show car’s form came courtesy of handmade craftsmanship. "The creation of the real world INFINITI Prototype 9 was entirely and coincidentally organic. As we started work on a physical model, word spread beyond the core design team, and other departments started checking in and offering assistance. Eventually, the production team became aware of the project – and brought with them the desire and skills to build it." said Senior Vice President of Global Design Alfonso Albaisa. Aerodynamically-tailored steel body panels set on a steel ladder frame chassis is constructed using traditional, low-volume manufacturing techniques such as deep-stamping production. The Infiniti Prototype 9's exterior features also include a double-arch grille and period-derived cross-ply race tires mounted to 19-inch wire-spoke wheels.  


Photo Credit: Infiniti Motor Company Ltd.



Conforming to vintage race car dynamics, the Prototype 9 utilizes a single-seat cabin. Lined in black leather, highly detailed touches include accents in contrasting red stitching. Infiniti Prototype 9's bucket seat incorporates extra touches in the form of Japanese flags. A minimalist cabin control layout is joined by a steering wheel that rotates on a fixed hub.

Applying to a classic design theme, Infiniti’s concept car actually harbours a high-tech fully-electric drivetrain. Powered by a single electric motor generating 148 horsepower, rear-wheel drive propulsion applies a considerable punch thanks to the Prototype 9's low 890 kilogram (1,962-pound) weight. Capable of a top speed of 170 km/h (105.6 miles per hour), the Infiniti Prototype 9 acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is recorded at 5.5 seconds. The vehicle operates on a 30-kWh  lithium-ion battery providing enough energy for 20 minutes of heavy race track use.


Photo Credit: Infiniti Motor Company Ltd.



The name of the Infiniti Prototype 9 is a creative play between Japanese and English language themes. In Japan, the number 9's pronunciation is similar to the way “Q” sounds in English. The Q branding is of course paramount to Infiniti’s current model range.

There’s little chance the Infiniti Prototype 9 will ever be produced but the vehicle mostly impresses us with the ingenuity of the luxury auto brand.

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