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Nissan legend Yutaka Katayama, aka “Mr. K,” dies at 105

Filed under: Automotive History,Events
by Alvin G @ 1:32 pm on February 21, 2015

Nissan Legend Yutaka Katayama

It is a sad day for Nissan and Datsun owners as we learn about the passing of Yutaka Katayama, father of the Z car. The news has spread throughout the media from NissanUSA to Wall Street.


As many of you know,  Mr. K is the father of the Z Car and was honored for his innovative design of the early Z Car that set the bar for others. He helped Nissan to become the best selling import brand in 1975.

Nissan Legend Yutaka Katayama141mr_katayama

He also positioned Nissan to become the 1st automaker to sell Americans on compact pickup trucks and “King Cabs”.   Here is Mr. K with the actor (Dale Ishimoto) that portrayed himself in Nissan’s famous “Dogs Love Trucks” ads:


Retired from Nissan since 1977, Mr. K still had a drive for styling. He played a major role in refining the Nissan Z concept car that was unveiled at the North American Auto Show in January 1999. On October 13, 1998 Mr. K was inducted into the Automobile Hall of Fame museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

We have fond memories of Mr. K at our local and national Z-car shows. It always amazed us how enthusiastic and full of verve this man was to come stateside and participate in our love for these cars. Here is Mr. K at a Z show in the Bay Area, circa 2002. Like many Datsun owners I too was humbled when he signed memorabilia/car parts and shook hands. Mr. K was driving a Z well after he turned 100, noting that his driver’s license was good through his 103rd birthday. Amazing individual.

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Having excellent communication skills even in is older years he was known for ending emails and conversations affectionately with, “Love Cars! Love People! Love Life!”


Thank you Mr. K for all that you have done for the automotive world. Our condolences go out to your family. You will be missed!



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