Inspired by the Silver Arrow race cars of the 1930s

Japanese luxury automaker Infiniti announced plans to unveil a new concept car at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance later this month. But unlike the usual show cars we see from automakers today, it won’t be a futuristic vehicle or a zero-emission prototype. Instead, Infiniti will showcase a heritage-inspired vehicle that captures the "ingenuity and adventure of early motorsports with the brand’s contemporary ’Powerful Elegance’ design language." It sounds a bit ambiguous, but the teaser photos available right now show a vehicle inspired by Grand Prix cars from the 1930s.

Specifically, Infiniti’s creation seems heavily based on the single-seater designs that companies like Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union raced around 80 years ago. The most famous examples are the Mercedes-Benz W25 and W125 and the Auto Union Type C and Type D. These cars had massive engines mounted either at the front or to the rear, had fusiform shapes when viewed from above, and were nicknamed the Silver Arrows due to their silver paint and racing success at the time. So what’s with Infiniti drawing inspiration from cars that were built with many decades before Nissan launched its premium division?

Continue reading for the full story.

The Japanese Silver Arrow?

Infiniti To Unveil Retro-Style Concept Car at Pebble Beach Exterior High Resolution
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The concept is built around the idea of "what if the Japanese had built something similar to the Silver Arrows back in the 1930s.

Although it claims to celebrate the "great roots of the company’s pioneer spirit and innovation mindset," neither Infiniti nor Nissan has absolutely any relation to the innovative design of the Silver Arrows. However, the brand explains that this concept is an exercise of "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?"

As senior vice president of Infiniti global design explains: "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?" Getting past the fact that the first Japanese Grand Prix held in 1963 was a sports car race and the Formula 1 event took place in 1976 – meaning that the Silver Arrows have no tradition on Japanese soil – I can see where the brand is going with this.

Infiniti To Unveil Retro-Style Concept Car at Pebble Beach Exterior High Resolution
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Infiniti also speaks of "advanced EV technology," so the big-displacement engine design in the Silver Arrows was replaced by electric motors.

It’s more like what if a Japanese carmaker had built something similar to the Silver Arrows back in the 1930s. It’s a cool idea really, especially if you’re a fan of Auto Union’s amazing Type C and Type D race cars. The styling of the concept seems to be similar, down to the fusiform body shape, the missing fenders, and the big, exposed drum brakes, but with a slightly more modern take. Infiniti also speaks of "advanced EV technology," so the big-displacement, multi-cylinder engine design in the Silver Arrows was replaced by one or more electric motors. I’ll definitely miss the piercing sound of the Type C’s 6.0-liter V-16, but this Infiniti contraption is a thing I’m very anxious to see.

References

Auto Union Type C

Infiniti To Unveil Retro-Style Concept Car at Pebble Beach
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Mercedes-Benz W125

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“It started as a simple thought: 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 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, Senior Vice President, Global Design

Infiniti To Unveil Retro-Style Concept Car at Pebble Beach Exterior High Resolution
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HONG KONG – At the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California, INFINITI will unveil a heritage-inspired prototype vehicle that captures the ingenuity and adventure of early motorsports with the brand’s contemporary “Powerful Elegance” design language. The new prototype not only celebrates INFINITI’s passion for design, but also the great roots of the company’s pioneer spirit and innovation mindset.

Infiniti To Unveil Retro-Style Concept Car at Pebble Beach Exterior High Resolution
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This prototype has been developed through a journey back to the roots of our company, and back forward again with the fusion of advanced EV technology and the hands and hearts of hundreds of craftsmen.

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