In Pebble Beach, Infiniti shows the Prototype 9, an example of how the brand’s racing car could have looked in the 1940s. This is open to discussion, of course: it is good that the Japanese brand also has an eye for classics and classic events, or Is it pure kitsch?
Luxury brand Nissan prides itself on its driving style, says designer Alfonso Albaisa. ‘Together with Example 9 we celebrate the tradition of ingenuity, craftsmanship and passion of our predecessors at Nissan Motor Corporation – and our brand we stand on their shoulders. It started as a debate: should Infiniti have built a racing car in the 1940s? If you thought of the one-seater Infiniti on the famous circuits of the era, such as Tamagawa Speedway, what would that look like? The drawings were beautiful and the idea was so interesting that we had to make a prototype. When other divisions within our company found out about this, they wanted to join us in making a self-driving car.’
The technology is definitely not from the 1940s. Prototype 9 is equipped with an electric motor, sourced from Nissan Department of High Strength Training. The engine produces 120 kW (163 hp) and a torque of 320 Nm. As befits a typical racing car, it has rear-wheel drive. Sprint from 0 to 100 takes 5.5 seconds, top speed is 170 km/h. Infiniti promises that you can drive the Prototype 9 on the track in twenty minutes (‘under heavy use of song’) before the battery runs out.
The birth of a car brand
Build a racing car like you’ve never had, where have we seen it before? Of course, in Studebaker. The brand also created a new modern model in the 1960s, inspired by the Mercedes SSK. The plan was to have an announcer for the show. Shortly before the car was shown at the New York City Auto Show in 1964, Studebaker thought: the public would think that Studebaker was considering the production of such a car.
Designer Brooks Stevens decided to put the car on the stock market himself, as one Special Project car Brooks Stevens Creative Associates. Interest turned out to be great and the list of buyers was huge. Stevens ultimately had no choice but to build a car: the birth of the Excalibur car brand.
Over the years, the cars became increasingly kitsch, but that didn’t stop many celebrities from buying the Excalibur. They included Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen, Dick van Dyke, Dean Martin and the King of Spain.
The question remains: will Infiniti stick with this one model, or will the brand go the Excalibur route? And it is good that the young brand also has an eye for classics and classic events, or is it pure kitsch?