Since the birth of the automobile in the late 1800’s cars quickly developed to become far more than a form of transport. Imbued with our sense of style and personality they also came to represent a snapshot of the time in which they were created.
Nissan Motors and their luxury car brand Infinity have recently embarked on a journey to rediscover a sense of style that existed in the distant past. A journey that celebrates style, ingenuity, craftsmanship and a demonstration of design passion. This journey ended in a destination that is the Prototype 9, a car inspired by the sleek 1940’s racers of yesteryear, a hand-crafted stream-liner with the latest technology under its steel skin.
Driven to the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance by Alfonso Albaisa, Infinty Motor Co’s senior vice president, the silent silver arrow inspired car awed the crowd, a crowd used to seeing elegant automotive works of art roll by.
As with all great prototypes the 9 began with a flashback to the past, a realisation by Albaisa that the first Japanese Grand Prix in 1936 had featured such sleek classic cars as the aeronautically inspired 1940’s silver arrows Mercedes-Benz W154 racers. The car that lived on to inspire Nissans engineers to spend endless hours hand crafting a modern interpretation of an all-time classic.
With the inspiration in place the project quickly picked up pace with many engineers eager to join the project and contribute in any way possible. With the normal design limitations removed by the nature of after-hours projects the Prototype 9 was free to evolve according to the passion and imagination of the designers. There were no design goals, no preconceived notions aside from creating a spectacular four wheeled work of art.
Hand crafted by a team of master craftspeople the Prototype 9 quickly developed into a high tech demonstration of style. With the gauges floating in the center of the steering wheel, black leather interior with contrasting red stitching along with the Japanese flags subtly stitched into the integrated head rest. The 30-killowatt electric motor and battery packs 148 bhp and 236 lb ft of torque propelling the Prototype 9 to reach 60mph in 5.5 seconds and go on to a top speed of 105 mph.
In this world of computer powered electric cars it is refreshing to see a design emerge that is as beautiful as it is high tech. Hats off to the engineers and designers at Nissan for grabbing this opportunity with both hands and delivering a car so spectacularly stunning, even though there is little chance of it making it into production it is still nice to see.