Infiniti Prototype 9 brings us back to the past

Infiniti Prototype 9: Despite Throwback Design, It's Not As Old-School As You Think

This is the Infiniti Prototype 9, a new prototype auto that harks back to single-seat racers from the 1940s. Rather than power the front wheels, like in the Leaf, the Prototype 9's electric motor powers the rear wheels.

In fact, the Infiniti seems to come with an electric powertrain from the new LEAF, promising around 150bhp, a 0-62mph in about 5.5 seconds and only enough juice for a 20 minute track blat.

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.

It has been hand-made using traditional skills and structure - like a ladder chassis and panel-beaten panels - as the continuation of a small out of hours project, and we think there is actually a small chance Infiniti could deliver the Prototype 9 as a very small-run plaything.

Despite the 21st century power source, the rest of the Prototype 9's construction is relatively classic, with leaf-spring suspension, a lack of power steering, hand-crafted steel body panels and a steel ladder chassis, and Infiniti sees the auto as a nod to its "origins" dating all the way back to, uh, 1989.

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Infiniti is heading to this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance with the retro-inspired Prototype 9 concept that draws inspiration from race cars from the past. What if in this vehicle we found the seed of passion planted during our first Japanese Grand Prix and the power and artistry of Infiniti today?

If you were anxious that those figures sound a little weak fear not, as a lithe kerb-weight allows the Project 9 to hit 62mph in just 5.5 seconds and hit a top speed of 106mph.

Thanks to its involvement in Formula One, Infiniti knows a thing or two about advanced powertrains and electric setups.

Infiniti also now offers hybrid versions of its Q50 and Q70 executive saloon cars.

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