Despite looks taking cues from racers in the 1940s, power comes from an electric drivetrain.
Infiniti has been in business since 1989, but for a new concept at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Nissan's luxury division has decided to look back 70 years to an early period of Japanese motorsports. The company won't release many details about the Retro Prototype yet, though.
“It started as a simple thought – what if we found a car, down at the Southern tip of Japan, buried deep in a barn, hidden from all eyes for 70 years? What if in this car we found the seed of passion planted during our first Japanese Grand Prix and the power and artistry of Infiniti today? What would this discovery look like, Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti Senior Vice President of Global Design, asked in the company's teaser for the Retro Prototype concept.
The company’s teaser doesn’t let us see much of the vehicle, but Infiniti promises that the vehicle mixes vintage cues with the firm's current design language. The firm’s image highlights the design’s gentle curves. A single-passenger open cockpit evokes European grand prix machines of the late 1940s. The bulge of the rear fender is slightly visible, too. For now, all Infiniti says about the concept’s mechanical bits is that it uses an electric drivetrain.
Looking back 70 years means that this vehicle’s styling would come from around 1947. The time period is just 14 years after Nissan’s founding in December 1933. It’s possible that the Retro Prototype might take cues from the Tama Motor Company’s electric vehicles (example below), which also celebrate their 70th anniversary this year.
Tama's electric models weren't performance vehicles, though. In the post-war period, gasoline was scarce, and these EVs offered an alternative means of transportation. Tama later changed its name Prince Motor Company. In 1966, Prince became part of Nissan.