Infiniti 'retro prototype' revealed before Pebble Beach debut

Infiniti Prototype 9 concept retcons history with EV guts   The grille is unfortunate but the rest of it is pretty slick.          
    Infiniti

When the production team heard about it, they immediately offered to build a real one, so the clay model was secretly moved from Atsugi to a back room at the Nissan research centre in Oppama, just outside Yokohama.

Finished in a bare sheet-metal skin, Prototype 9's bodywork is made from steel body panels wrapped around a steel ladder frame.

Dubbed mitate and shitate, these Japanese principles relate to sourcing and combining the finest materials; the Prototype 9's cockpit is upholstered in black leather with red contrast stitching, while Japanese flags are stitched into the headrest.

Having finished the design, Infiniti turned to parent company Nissan for its experience with electric powertrains.

Even though it has an unashamedly old-fashioned silhouette, modern Infiniti design cues like the shark-nosed grille and creased hood have been neatly integrated into the concept.

Infiniti Prototype 9
Enlarge Image Pepperidge Farm isn't the only company that remembers. Infiniti

While the motor may be as as modern as they come, Infiniti has kept things more traditional in the handling department with a leading arm solid front axle and De Dion rear axle riding on transverse leaf springs. We wouldn't be surprised to see some of the tech from this concept feature in the new Nissan Leaf when it launches. It takes 5.5 seconds to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) from standstill, and tops out at 170 km/h (106 mph). The 30kWh battery will "last 20 minutes under heavy track use", although that number is expected to rise when it's on public roads.

Infiniti's design head Alfonso Albaisa, a Cuban from Havana (imagine growing up dreaming of drawing cars in fuel-rationed and sanctioned Cuba), said the motivation to do a retro design study came from quite a romantic if unlikely fantasy - "What if we found a vehicle, down at the southern tip of Japan, buried deep in the barn, hidden from all eyes for 70 years?" "It is an excellent example of the ingenuity, craftsmanship and entrepreneurism that characterizes the teams across our company".

To create a driver-focused environment, the Infiniti Prototype 9's steering wheel rotates around a fixed aluminium hub, in which rest the speedometer and other gauges.

The Prototype 9 is will be on display at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Let us know in the comment section below.

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