Nissan to Electrify 1960s Silvia

Nissan Vice President Matthew Weaver, who isn’t afraid of a challenge, chose to reinvent the legendary Silvia CSP311 for an electric future. the Silvia is a unique piece of art! A rare vehicle, it debuted at the 1964 Tokyo Motor Show. Some of Nissan’s longest-tenured employees haven’t seen one, in fact.


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 essential measures to bring the car into the present day with care and love. When it came to refinement, it became even purer and had even better lines. The vehicle’s electrification, on the other hand, is the crowning achievement. Matthew was able to imagine the utilization of today’s innovations in conjunction with classic design elements.


New challenges

It is becoming increasingly difficult for automotive designers to maintain the tradition of their brands while simultaneously innovating what cars can and should be. Blank paper is the starting point for every design. Sketches and various 2D designs follow, followed by digital and 3D clay prototypes, and finally the final product. When it comes to designing fresh ideas for electric cars, designers can still utilize the same methodologies, but they have a new set of regulations to follow.

In the past, designers had to cooperate with engineers in order to incorporate an internal combustion engine, radiators and exhaust pipe. Batteries, inverters, and small motors have replaced these once-essential components. As a designer, this represents a significant shift in routine, but also a tremendous opportunity to do things differently and provide drivers with a new experience.

“The key components of an electric vehicle are quite different and they can be packaged differently, compared to an internal combustion engine car. Consequently, the Silvia we’ve reimagined here would have a larger interior than its exterior dimensions would suggest. Customers of the forthcoming Nissan Ariya electric crossover will really appreciate how spacious and comfortable that interior is, thanks to its efficient packaging,” Matthew explained.

A new generation of designers must take into account modern technologies, such as radars and cameras. But it’s more than that, too. There are new methods that automakers can produce an emotional response and build a lasting relationship with customers.

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