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Quick Pic: The Infiniti Prototype 9 is a throwback to an era before Infiniti existed

Patrick Hoffstetter August 17, 2017 Quick Pics 16 Comments

Infiniti, known for selling tarted up Nissans to people that yearn for the old days of Skylines, has shocked the automotive world with one of most oddball and stunning concepts we’ve seen in a long time. It’s inspired by the amazing and daring Grand Prix cars from the 30’s and 40’s. Yet instead of a giant V12 belching flames and smoke, it’s the conceptual running gear for the next-generation Nissan Leaf.

Yes, seriously.

The coolest concept Infiniti has ever thrown together has a borrowed drivetrain from something… a bit less cool. Crazy right? Hats off to everyone that came together to make this wonderful thing happen.

I just hope it gets driven.

  • Harry Callahan

    Why?

    Infiniti has no racing pretentions or history. What could this car possible mean to the person weighing a Q50 against a 3-Series Bimmer?

    Absolutely nothing. This represents a marketing department that has NO idea what it is doing.

    • Maymar

      I mean, to some extent, why not? I suppose there’s a portion of Nissan that accepts that investment in EVs is important preparation for a possible future, but decided to romanticize it a little by looking back?

      • Harry Callahan

        ….looking back at someone else’s history? Sure, it doesn’t cause any harm, per se, but it certainly won’t sell any cars or burnish any corporate image.

  • kogashiwa

    Now if only they were Morgan, they would actually produce it.

  • Rover 1

    Having looked at the way that Audi has ‘magicked’ up a heritage. Dead, until re-invented as a Mercedes Benz budget brand in the mid sixties and then sold to the Beetle makers, Audi have made big play on a rose-tinted black and white photographed nostalgia.

    In today’s world where ‘facts’ are what we say they are, rather than what they are, Infiniti are having a go at reinventing their own romantic past. This car thus looks like a prewar ‘German something’ race car as imagined, perhaps by a young Italian, called perhaps, Zagato. What a happy coincidence that Germany and Japan have the same racing colours(white/no paint/silver)

    I’m a little surprised that it doesn’t come with a cotton driving suit, leather gloves, helmet and goggles to complete the stagecraft.

    Infiniti’s (ex-Audi) CEO will have noted approvingly that it photographs very well in black and white, rose- tinting to come with viewer’s discretion?

    • 0A5599

      Did you happen to notice the helmet and goggles resting on the cowl?

      • Rover 1

        Oh, there they are. Just missing the suit

    • Joey DaVive

      ‘(ex-Audi) CEO’. All explained, right there.

  • wunno sev

    counterpoint:

    if anything, i think it’s more of a cynical marketing ploy when Mercedes appeals to its “heritage” than when Infiniti comes out with a styling and engineering exercise. those racing Benzes bear no more meaningful a connection to the Mercedeses of today than the concept to any real Infiniti. who cares if they have no heritage? they’re trying to bump the value of the Infiniti brand using a cool project that i really enjoy as a car person. if MBZ can do it with Silver Arrows tenuously connected to their modern production cars, Infiniti can do it with this thing.

    i appreciate that Nissan is willing to let the leash out on its engineers and designers once in a while (cf GTR, Cube, Juke, Murano CC, GTR LM Nismo). this looks like a wicked fun project to have worked on. we think of concepts as being for us, but as much as PR projects, concepts are an opportunity for the designers to go wild and come up with new ideas that later appear on production cars. even if it’s hard to draw the line directly from this to a production car five years from now, doesn’t mean no light bulbs are going off in an engineer or designer’s head right now.

    but my guess is it was just a laugh. why do corporate behemoths pay Jeff Koons seven figures to put another fucking balloon animal in the lobby? to show off, to peacock, to flaunt. if Infiniti flaunts by making cool stuff, i’m all for it. make more cool stuff! i love cool stuff!

    • Rover 1

      Mercedes Benz actually has heritage, they don’t have ‘heritage’. Their company founder INVENTED the car.

      Mercedes Benz can leave the faking of the past to others, like this Nissan-Renault offshoot, a brand invented 103 years after Gottlieb Daimler got it all started.

      And you only have to see a line-up of Mercedes Benz models from every year of production to see the continuity flowing from model to model.

      Yes it’s a laugh.

      It’s a joke.

      • wunno sev

        man, don’t drink the corporate kool-aid.

        listen, i love the cars MBZ has made over the years. my dad had an ’85 when i was a kid that i adored, and all the drawings in my grade school classes were of that car. i learned to drive in another ’85, and not thirty hours ago i bought my second Mercedes as an adult. so i’ve got mad respect for the cars Mercedes has made. there is definitely no-quotes heritage in the brand.

        but i don’t think “heritage” – as might be cited in a slow, reverent voiceover for a youtube video – gives one’s ideas and vision and more legitimacy. Infiniti’s car is no less exciting, meaningful, or valuable because it’s from Infiniti and not a brand with “heritage”. that’s all i’m saying.

        • Rover 1

          It is, no doubt, an interesting exercise as a design process resulting in an intriguing ‘what if’ concept vehicle

          But, I reiterate, most strongly, that a design study that says ‘what if’, and imagines a rose tinted past that never happened and is purely imaginary, has less validity than a rose tinted past that actually, really, did happen and doesn’t have to be imagined because it actually, really, happened.

          Mercedes Benz and for that matter Renault or Peugeot or any other marque that have been around for a long time don’t have to fake ‘heritage’. They have the real thing, actual real heritage. Not something that has to be believed, or imagined, because it actually really happened.

          For example:
          Monaco Grand Prix, April 22, 1935. The winner Luigi Fagioli at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz formula racing car W 25 B, helping forge the reputation of The Silver Arrows of Mercedes Benz.

          An actual photograph taken using the latest technology of the time, of actual car fielded by actual real racing team, of an actual manufacturer that had actually existed for many years, competing under the racing rules of the time with actual, real, latest technology of the time, with actual real person who actually lived, winning actual real race on actual day at actual real place, Monaco, contributing to actual real recording of moment in history that contributes to actual real history and heritage shared by us all in our culture.
          Heritage without the quotation marks.
          http://myautoworld.com/mercedes/history/cars1930/1934-silver-arrows-gp/21696_1172856.jpg

          Contrasted with:
          A digital photograph of a car revealed this week that has been carefully crafted and presented and photographed, to look like it might have been an old racing car from the 1930s, in a reference back to a previous time when technology and automobiles looked different, because the latest technology of the time was different to today. Referring to a ‘history’ that isn’t real, (Infiniti didn’t exist then, at all, in any way.) Referring to our remembered histories in a way that attempts to borrow gravitas, and meaning, and substance, from real history to SELL something today, in the actual present.

          Not real, of course, meaning fake.

          Consumption of Koolaid with or without poisonous drugs not required to appreciate.

          http://lln5.mnmcdn.com/content/infiniti-racer.jpg

          • wunno sev

            i recognize your point about the real vs the fake “heritage”. Mercedes definitely has a longer and more illustrious history. but you say that the Infiniti concept is borrowing nostalgia for a time it didn’t exist like that’s a bad thing. Infiniti can’t help that it wasn’t around in the ’50s. nobody’s interested in a nostalgia-soaked electric ’97 I30.

            meanwhile, a race car built by Mercedes in the ’50s – and i stand by this point – has little more to do with a modern C300 than it does with a Q60. i posit that Mercedes’ use of its heritage is no less a ploy to sell new cars largely unrelated to the old cars. if anything, it’s more exploitative: where Infiniti is showing off something it has done today, with technologies drawn from its road cars, Mercedes is just dusting off the old photographs (the “actual” ones – i don’t understand the distinction between “actual” and digital) and showing them off like they have any relation to their modern cars.

            i guess what i don’t understand is why you appear to think Infiniti is treading where it doesn’t belong, trespassing on some hallowed ground into which it does not deserve entry. that’s what i mean by the corporate kool-aid. MBZ, as much as i love its products, is not our friend. it’s a big, publicly-traded global entity whose purpose is to exploit us for money. so is Infiniti. they are rapacious profit-seeking machines that do not care about me beyond what i will pay them. so i judge their output based on what they can do for me, not what they’ve done in the past. the Prototype 9 is cool as hell, so why should i respect it any less?

            (all of this isn’t to say, btdubs, that Mercedes isn’t doing cool stuff. have you seen that Vision 6 Cabriolet concept?0

          • kogashiwa

            I don’t see any faking of heritage whatsoever in this project. It’s a pure flight of fancy, and that’s what they say it is. And I love it for being exactly that.

            • Rover 1

              “It is, no doubt, an interesting exercise as a design process resulting in an intriguing ‘what if’ concept vehicle.”

  • CraigSu

    So, Infiniti shows a car they won’t build for the masses. Par for the course for a brand that decided the best way to introduce themselves was by not showing the cars it actually wanted to sell.
    https://youtu.be/hm8gXPQmHpw
    https://youtu.be/5rIUAuW6vLk