Yet this coming week, Infiniti and its leader, Roland Krueger, will present a mythological Infiniti race car from a non-existent past right square in the middle of the year’s most elevated celebration of automotive heritage and achievement, the Pebble Beach Concours and Rolex Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca Raceway.
Experiencing it is the point. It’s a distillation of late 1930s cues and configurations, most of which lasted into the late 1950s, until Cooper’s lightweight, mid-engined machines changed the way European racing machines in the top rank were constructed.
However, it does show that electric cars don’t have to hew to cutting-edge (or even semi-recent) bodies to be eye-catching. Don’t be surprised if elements of the Prototype 9 find their way into more straight-laced EVs, whether it’s the internal layout or visual cues.
The Prototype 9 project began with a message from Infiniti’s U.S. marketing team to design chief Alfonso Albaisa. It was based on a discussion point from an internal brand meeting held Stateside, which went something like this: Imagine you are somewhere in the Japan countryside and came across a car, sheltered in a barn, hidden away for decades. Not only is it a race car, but it is also an Infiniti.