NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan is reawakening the Power of Z with the new Nissan Z Proto, combining 50 years of passion and heritage with modern technology. Please join us at TheNissanNext.com for the Z Proto Digital Unveil on Tuesday, September 15 at 7:30 p.m. CDT.
For more information about our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit nissanusa.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn and see all our latest videos on YouTube.
Nissan celebrates 50 years of Z
Critics said there could never be an exciting sports car made in Japan.
Nissan set out to prove them wrong.
In 1969, the Nissan Z was born, and it took the world by storm.
Nissan legend Yutaka Katayama, the man known as “Mr. K,” ran Nissan’s U.S. operations in the 1970s and is widely known as the father of the Datsun Z, the world-class affordable sports car. He retired from Nissan in 1977.
In 2014, Katayama granted a rare three-part interview in which he reflected on nearly 80 years in the car business. Katayama died in 2015 at the age of 105.
Born in September 1909, in what is now Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Mr. K joined the company in 1935 and was assigned to the Administration Department, first handling publicity and then advertising.
He made one of the first color films of a Datsun on Japanese roads and later filmed motor sport races across the globe, raising the bar for decades of visual story telling ahead.
With a love of cars and a flare for promotion, he built the Datsun brand, Nissan’s initial brand name in the U.S., from scratch.
He had first visited the U.S. as an assistant on a high-speed vessel carrying raw silk in 1927 while a student at Keio University.
In his storied career, he was team manager as two Datsun 210s were entered in a grueling rally circumnavigating the Australian continent. The subsequent victory instantly catapulted the brand into worldwide renown and set the stage for Datsun exports.
Notably, he put together the key concepts for the Z-car, contributing significantly to the birth of an exceptional sports car still revered by driving enthusiasts.
Retiring in 1977, he was later inducted into the American Automotive Hall of Fame in 1998 for ushering in a generation of vehicles that redefined the American car market, as well as the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame for pioneering deeds on both sides of the Pacific.
Among other key achievements, Katayama promoted the first All-Japan Motor Show in 1954, as well as laid the foundations for Nissan North America.
More on Mr. Katayama:
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.