The Japanese car maker Nissan has just unveiled the Prototype 9, an alien, open-wheeled electric "retro roadster prototype" crafted by Nissan workers as an after-hours labor of love. Teased earlier this week, this latest concept blends old and new, with classic lines hiding a modern all-electric powertrain. The Infiniti Prototype 9 will make its debut next week at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
Nissan says that the Prototype 9 "is a celebration of Nissan and Infiniti's ingenuity, artistry and craftsmanship", blending 1940s styling with a modernized version of what is, let's face it, an early 20th Century drivetrain. The backward-looking future concept was revealed alongside a fully restored 1960s-era Prince R380, a low-slung, Ford GT40-style built to compete in the Japanese Grand Prix. Prince merged with Nissan in 1966, with Nissan quick to make the connection between the premium car maker it consumed and the Infiniti brand.
Infiniti Prototype 9 is powered by a new-generation 120kW/320Nm electric motor borrowed from Nissan's Advanced Powertrain Unit. It's output well down on the 390kW of a late 1930s-era Auto Union Type C Streamliner. Up front, the modern-day retro racer uses an inverted leaf spring suspension, while on the down side of the rear it uses an era-appropriate de Dion suspension, as reported by Wheels Mag.
The electric motor drives the rear wheels via the single-speed transmission. The Infiniti Prototype 9 has a top speed of 170km/h. The card reaches 0-to-100km/h in 5.5 seconds, with a maximum EV range of 20 minutes beneath heavy track use, as reported by Autoblog.
The Infiniti Prototype 9, unlike cars of the era that used lightweight materials, is built around a ladder frame and panels that use steel, meaning it tips the scales at a jaw-dropping 1962kg. The car is designed and built by different departments within Nissan and Infiniti.