At that point, Albaisa was startled to be contacted by Nissan's advanced powertrain department.
"These are the guys who made the powertrain for the Leaf and were busy working on the next Leaf," Albaisa says. "They said, 'We're in, too.'
"I said, 'What do you mean, you're in?'
"They said, 'We're going to make the car run.'"
Advanced powertrain created a twin-battery electric powertrain for the concept vehicle. That part was no real feat for the group. Their challenge, Albaisa says, was packaging the modern electric powertrain into the racer's elongated retro design.
The battery pack had to be fitted to the layout, with modern steering, brakes and electronic powertrain controls routed around the car to fit the design.
"At that point, there was nothing I could do to hold the project to the ground," Albaisa says. "I realized I'd better tell Mr. Klein that this thing had taken on a life of its own."
Philippe Klein is Nissan Motor Co.'s head of global product planning, with responsibility for product strategy and business plans around the world — and there was no Infiniti Prototype 9 in the company's business plans.
Albaisa emailed the executive and alerted him that "a lot of dominoes are about to fall and it could be loud." He explained the project that had sprung to life on its own.
Klein emailed back almost immediately, a reply so fast that Albaisa was certain he was about to be fired.
Instead, Klein was fascinated and wanted to hear the details. He interrupted his schedule to travel to the Oppama plant to see the rogue concept for himself.
"He really supported it," Albaisa says. "Like me, he loved the idea of a design concept that celebrated the company's spirit of undertaking a project like this."
Supported by whom Albaisa calls "protectors" in the company, the concept vehicle remained an underground project until it was ready for display this month.
Infiniti now wants the public to see it as an expression of what the brand is about — not actual racing heritage from the last century but modern-day passion to take an idea and turn it into a car.