Nissan, under its Datsun name, did create an open-wheel single-seat race car that ran at Tamagawa in 1936, and it didn’t look anything like the sleek, modern expression of speed you see here. It was far more conventional, with a more or less typical-of-the-time bulbous, round nose and bulbous, round rear end. We found a photo on www.datsunhistory.com.
Which is not to take away from the idea expressed by the designers of the beautiful retro-new racing roadster you see here and that you can see, alongside a real Prince R380, at the Pebble Beach Concours in a few days. While this car looks to the past for design inspiration, with hand-hammered steel panels beaten into shape by teams of master artisans known as Takumi, it is powered by a futuristic electric drivetrain from Nissan’s advanced powertrain department. The prototype electric motor makes 120 kilowatts, or 148 hp, and 236 pounds-feet of torque, which can launch the 1,962-pound car to 62 mph in 5.5 seconds and to a top speed of 106 mph. The lithium ion battery is 30 kilowatt-hours, good for 20 minutes of heavy track use. It looks like it would be a blast to drive.