Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, and other established premium marques have the luxury of drawing on a long history of grand prix racing when Monterey Car Week comes around. But what do you do when you’re Infiniti and you don’t have a rich motorsports heritage to capitalize on? You imagine that you do and design a vintage F1-inspired “what if” concept for Pebble Beach.
Infiniti has teased the concept it’s bringing to the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and from the streamlined, bare-metal fuselage, vintage open-face helmet, and old-timey goggles seen in the photo, Infiniti is clearly channeling the golden age of grand prix racing.
Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti’s senior vice president of global design, explains the idea behind the concept in a release:
“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?”
It sounds like a fun exercise for designers, and if the concept is well done, it could fuel the imaginations of racing history buffs everywhere. What if there was a Japanese grand prix racer that predates Honda’s 1964 RA271? If Infiniti is imagining a car from 70 years ago, that would place it in 1947, meaning the hypothetical racer would have rubbed fenders with Maseratis, Talbots, and Alfa Romeos.
Though Infiniti looked back at post-war grand prix racers for inspiration, the concept will showcase the brand’s current “Powerful Elegance” design language. Can the two disparate styles mesh? We’ll find out when the car debuts in Monterey, California, later this month.