Retro-racer teased by Infiniti

Posted on Aug 11, 2017 by

An imaginary barn-find turned into a real-life zero-emissions electric race car inspired by the fifties

infiniti retro concept 2

For Japanese manufacturer Nissan, November 8, 1989, is a notable date in history — it was only 28 years ago that spin-off luxury brand started selling dressed up Nissans to Americans, and in doing so along with Toyota’s Lexus and Honda’s Accord legitimising some premium action on the side for the Japanese. The Germans noticed, and the luxury segment is a different field today, one much larger than “BMW or Mercedes”.

Even so it was only 28 years ago… in two weeks’ time at the annual concours d’elegance in Pebble Beach, California, Infiniti is preparing a concept in the veil of fifties’ race cars.

Infiniti’s design head Alfonso Albaisa, a Cuban from Havana (imagine growing up dreaming of drawing cars in fuel-rationed and sanctioned Cuba), said the motivation to do a retro design study came from quite a romantic if unlikely fantasy — “What if we found a car, down at the southern tip of Japan, buried deep in the barn, hidden from all eyes for 70 years? What would this discovery look like?”

infiniti retro concept 2

From the two teaser images released so far the prototype seems to take on hues from motor sport themes as varied as Mercedes’ Silver Arrows and Bonneville salt lake racers, and with few comfort features such as a padded leather headrest and a wishful windscreen suggest inspiration from road racers that lapped epic circuits like Targa Florio and the Mille Miglia 60 years ago.

We’ll find out what Infiniti’s concept looks like on August 16 at Pebble Beach, but this heritage-inspired design does come as a surprise from a company with less than three decades of heritage.

What we see so far though looks enticing, and Infiniti isn’t hanging about in the past too much with the study because the drivetrain will be all-electric promising a “fusion of advanced technology.”

Being part of the Renault-Nissan group helps when it comes to performance EVs — the French outfit is part of the FIA Formula E series of zero-emissions single-seaters, with Nissan reportedly joining in soon or taking over Renault’s spot.

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