Automotive

Infiniti's electrifying retro race car shines in front of the cameras

Infiniti's electrifying retro ...
Infiniti was only launched in 1989, but that didn't need stop it from creating a 1940s type race car
Infiniti was only launched in 1989, but that didn't need stop it from creating a 1940s type race car
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Infiniti shows the Prototype 9 at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2017
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Infiniti shows the Prototype 9 at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2017
The interior may be simple but its handcrafted style adds to the overall look and feel of the Prototype 9 design
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The interior may be simple but its handcrafted style adds to the overall look and feel of the Prototype 9 design
Power comes from a 148-hp prototype motor wired to a 30 kWh lithium-ion pack
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Power comes from a 148-hp prototype motor wired to a 30 kWh lithium-ion pack
Infiniti shows the Prototype 9 at Pebble Beach
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Infiniti shows the Prototype 9 at Pebble Beach
The Prototype 9 helps answer the question, "What if Infiniti had created a race car in the 1940s?" 
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The Prototype 9 helps answer the question, "What if Infiniti had created a race car in the 1940s?" 
Infiniti was only launched in 1989, but that didn't need stop it from creating a 1940s type race car
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Infiniti was only launched in 1989, but that didn't need stop it from creating a 1940s type race car
The gauges on the fixed hub inside the steering wheel add an interesting touch
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The gauges on the fixed hub inside the steering wheel add an interesting touch
The Prototype 9 features bare steel bodywork over top a steel ladder frame
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The Prototype 9 features bare steel bodywork over top a steel ladder frame
Infiniti estimates a 5.5-second 0-62 mph (100 km/h)
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Infiniti estimates a 5.5-second 0-62 mph (100 km/h)
The Prototype 9's motor offers 236 lb-ft of torque
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The Prototype 9's motor offers 236 lb-ft of torque
Top speed comes in at 105.6 mph
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Top speed comes in at 105.6 mph
The one element that detracts from the Prototype 9, in our opinion, is the large, two-part grille, which seems to large for a combustion engine car, let alone an electric
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The one element that detracts from the Prototype 9, in our opinion, is the large, two-part grille, which seems to large for a combustion engine car, let alone an electric
A more three-dimensional interpretation of the Infiniti hood emblem
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A more three-dimensional interpretation of the Infiniti hood emblem
A more three-dimensional interpretation of the Infiniti hood emblem
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A more three-dimensional interpretation of the Infiniti hood emblem
A more three-dimensional interpretation of the Infiniti hood emblem
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A more three-dimensional interpretation of the Infiniti hood emblem
The Prototype 9 rides on 19-in spoked wheels with period cross-ply competition tires
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The Prototype 9 rides on 19-in spoked wheels with period cross-ply competition tires
Infiniti Prototype 9
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Infiniti Prototype 9
Wire-spoke 19-in wheels
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Wire-spoke 19-in wheels
A tiny windscreen barely interrupts the smooth handcrafted bodywork
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A tiny windscreen barely interrupts the smooth handcrafted bodywork
A tiny windscreen barely interrupts the smooth handcrafted bodywork
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A tiny windscreen barely interrupts the smooth handcrafted bodywork
The steering wheel turns around the fixed gauge hub
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The steering wheel turns around the fixed gauge hub
Infiniti's design was inspired by aircraft and the Prince R380, which Infiniti explains won both land speed records and the Japanese Grand Prix back in the 60s
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Infiniti's design was inspired by aircraft and the Prince R380, which Infiniti explains won both land speed records and the Japanese Grand Prix back in the 60s
Infiniti Prototype 9
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Infiniti Prototype 9
Infiniti Prototype 9
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Infiniti Prototype 9
Elements that tie into Infiniti's modern design language include the long, front-rear lines, "shark gills" behind the front wheels, a single-crease hood, and a double-arch grille
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Elements that tie into Infiniti's modern design language include the long, front-rear lines, "shark gills" behind the front wheels, a single-crease hood, and a double-arch grille
The Infiniti Prototype 9 weighs 1,962 lb (890 kg)
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The Infiniti Prototype 9 weighs 1,962 lb (890 kg)
Between the Prototype 9 and the Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet, this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance was all about open-top rides with tons of hood
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Between the Prototype 9 and the Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet, this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance was all about open-top rides with tons of hood
Infiniti Prototype 9
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Infiniti Prototype 9
We'd like to see some unpolished footage of the Prototype 9 on the track, but Infiniti has focused on more produced short films
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We'd like to see some unpolished footage of the Prototype 9 on the track, but Infiniti has focused on more produced short films
It may not be all that fast or powerful, but the Prototype 9 looks like a natural on the track
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It may not be all that fast or powerful, but the Prototype 9 looks like a natural on the track
The Infiniti Prototype 9 put to the test on the track
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The Infiniti Prototype 9 put to the test on the track
The Infiniti Prototype 9 put to the test on the track
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The Infiniti Prototype 9 put to the test on the track
The Infiniti Prototype 9 put to the test on the track
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The Infiniti Prototype 9 put to the test on the track
The Infiniti Prototype 9 put to the test on the track
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The Infiniti Prototype 9 put to the test on the track
View gallery - 34 images

Each August, Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance breaks the summer quiet in the automotive industry with some of the flashiest concepts of the year. We'd have serious trouble picking out a "flashiest of them all" this year, amongst the Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet, Ken Okuyama Kode 0 , BMW Concept Z4 and Infiniti Prototype 9, but we would say that Infiniti's retro-modern racer was perhaps the most pleasantly unexpected of the lot. One complaint: the initial debut left us absolutely starving for some driving footage. Thankfully, Infiniti didn't wait long to show some on-track action.

If you had asked us at the outset of 2017 to list some concept cars we'd likely see during the course of the year, a 1940s-style race car with modern Japanese design work and an electric powertrain most definitely wouldn't have crossed our minds. But that's the brief Infiniti has met with the Prototype 9, and while we can nitpick over the unnecessarily huge grille, we think the project was highly successful and one of several immediate favorites for "concept car of the year."

Top speed comes in at 105.6 mph
Top speed comes in at 105.6 mph

With a fairly flaccid 148-hp (110-kW) motor providing driving force at the rear wheels and a lithium-ion battery offering just 20 minutes of track time, the Prototype 9 is clearly more of an artistic show car than a racing tour de force. Still, those sumptuous curves, sharp tail and skinny tires really make us curious to see what it looks like arrowing and twisting around the track.

The Infiniti Prototype 9 put to the test on the track
The Infiniti Prototype 9 put to the test on the track

Unfortunately, the handful of videos that Infiniti released a few days after revealing the car doesn't include the type of raw driving footage we were hoping for. But there is some dramatized footage of a driver all decked out in an old timey helmet and goggles zipping around the track. Far from perfect, but at least it shows the Prototype 9 in its natural element.

Infiniti senior global design VP Alfonso Albaisa's description of the experience is probably more compelling than the footage itself, so we've included it in the second video clip.

INFINITI Prototype 9

INFINITI Prototype 9: An Engaging EV future

If those videos leave you unsatisfied, be sure to check out the host of newly published photos we've put in the gallery, which mixes shots from Pebble Beach and the test track.

Source: Infiniti

View gallery - 34 images
2 comments
Joe123
An incredible work of art. An automobile masterpiece. From the perfect color, the perfect font, even the grille is a work of art. This is one of the most beautiful automobiles I have ever seen. Who ever designed this, congratulations. You are an artist.
Martin Hone
Certainly a great looking machine if you discount that over the top and unnecessary front grill. If you take a look at what was running in the GP class back in the 40's then it is clear where the inspiration and colour came from.