Monday, February 23, 2015

Thank You Mr. K - 80 Years In The Car Business and My Z

The father of the Datsun Z, Yutaka Katayama - Mr. ‘K’ - passed away on Feb. 20 at the age of 105. Katayama joined the company in 1935, built the Datsun brand from scratch, ran Nissan’s U.S. operations in the 1970s and retired from Nissan in 1977. I had my 1978 Datsun 280Z (above) for 10 years and that car generated lifelong relationships, stories and speeding tickets.

Mr. K (left) made one of the first color films of a Datsun on Japanese roads and later filmed motor sport races across the globe. He was a victorious team manager as two Datsun 210s were entered in a grueling rally circumnavigating the Australian continent catapulting the brand into worldwide renown and setting the stage for Datsun exports. He put together the key concepts for the Z-car and was inducted into the American Automotive Hall of Fame in 1998.