Infiniti Prototype 9 Blends Old and New With Stunning Results

Concept cars these days, especially electric ones, can be a bit dull and repetitive – but the new retro-inspired Infiniti Project 9 is anything but. 

The Project 9 pulls its inspiration from 1930s-era Grand Prix cars. You might even think it’s the real deal with its wire wheels, elongated hood, and hand-formed tail, but this prototype is all-new and even packs an electric powertrain beneath its aluminum bodywork.

According to Motor Trend, the idea for the Project 9 first came about when Infiniti’s U.S. team floated the question of what a vintage Infiniti race car might look like if it were to exist. Lead Infiniti designer Alfonso Albaisa and his team then set to work on the car, with Nissan’s advanced engineering and specialty vehicle divisions also getting involved.

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Many concepts don’t run and drive, but the Project 9 is a fully working prototype. It receives its motivation from an electric motor (similar to the one that will power the new Leaf) that produces 148 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. It might not sound like much, but it’s enough to propel the 1,962 lb racer from zero to 60 mph in a respectable 5.5-seconds and on to a limited top speed of 105 mph. It also has unassisted, recirculating ball rack steering and an old-school suspension setup that is electronically controlled. A true fusion of old and new, this.

“It started as a simple thought,” Albaisa explained. “What if we found a car, down at the southern tip of Japan, buried deep in the barn, hidden from all eyes for 70 years? What if in this car we found the seed of passion planted during our first Japanese Grand Prix and the power and artistry of Infiniti today? What would this discovery look like?”

The Project 9 made its official debut at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance and fits right in between the classic cars and modern vehicles.

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