Never one to resist a challenge, when Matthew Weaver, Vice President of Nissan Design Europe, was asked to reimagine a car from Nissan's history for an electric future, he chose to remix the iconic Silvia CSP311.
The Silvia is one of a kind. It's a rare model that launched at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1964. It's so rare in fact, that even some of Nissan's most seasoned employees haven't seen one.
Matthew explains: "The Silvia was ahead of its time, in a very quiet, understated way. It has aged very well and would still have its place on the roads today. It's also a great example of what is expected of a global product: high quality and universally appealing.
"By re-designing this car for the future, we wanted to pay homage to that heritage. One of the most distinguishable features is the one clean line connecting the upper and lower body. In this version, we accentuated its presence even more by having a clean and sharp cut into the top of the wheel arches. Also keeping in mind the world of the future, we felt the design naturally suited being an electric vehicle."
"Being an electric vehicle, it gave us the opportunity to extend the clean surfacing around the front because an electric powertrain has far lower cooling requirements, so there is no need for a grille where radiators are traditionally located," he added.
Matthew and the team took a lot of important steps to lovingly bring the car into the modern era. He refined it, making it purer and the lines even cleaner. But the electrification of the vehicle is the pièce de résistance. It allowed Matthew to envision the use of today's innovations alongside classic design facets.
Previously, designers had to work alongside engineers to find a way to accommodate an internal combustion engine, radiators and exhaust pipe. Now, those once essential components have been replaced by battery packs, inverters and small motors. It's a big change in the daily job of a designer, but also a huge opportunity to do things differently and provide a new experience for drivers.
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