Our man in Japan Peter Nunn meets the creator of Nissan's first Z-car, Yutaka Katayama
8 January 2010

Autocar’s Japanese correspondent Peter Nunn recently spent some time with the creator of the original Nissan Z-car – the Datsun 240Z - Yutaka Katayama.

Nunn took Katayama out in the Nissan 370Z Roadster to see what the 100-year-old thought and you can see the pictures from his visit by clicking on the link below.

Pic special: we meet the creator of Nissan's Zed cars

History of the Nissan Z-car in pictures

Katayama was initially a fan of the car, but felt it was overly complicated.

“Two hundred years ago we were riding horses, but we’ve lost that feeling of uncomplicated freedom nowadays,” said Katayama. “A horse has no tachometer or whatever, but man can still control the speed and enjoy riding the horse. Keep it simple – that’s the way it should be.”

Katayama, who recently renewed his driving license for another three years, also bemoaned the price of the new model. Nunn describes what Katayama’s ideal modern Z-car would be.

“To Mr K, the Z-car should be simpler – styled like a thoroughbred, but with a price accessible to young people,” says Nunn. “It should offer the same kind of character and involvement that you can get from a Mazda MX-5, or even a Caterham.”

What interests Katayama in the motoring world nowadays? He likes the idea of an electric hybrid Z, but is concerned about the weight of the batteries. What about the Tesla? “No interest!” said Katayama. Without any sound, maybe they will have to use a bell.”

Katayama has been impressed with the Toyota FT-86 concept, which he saw at the Tokyo motor show. A Subaru-engined, rear-drive coupe “is something like a new Zed should be”, he said.

Katayama, who himself drives a Nissan 350Z, has been a frequent visitor to the UK. “Driving with the top down in Britain is fantastic,” he said with a smile. “That’s the place to drive a sports car.”

Twitter - follow autocar.co.ukSee all the latest Nissan 370Z reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

Nissan 370Z

The Nissan 370Z is seductively honest, entertaining and great value, too. But it’s no long-haul cruiser

Join the debate


8 January 2010

Well if driving a 'Z' keeps you going that long perhaps we all should.

And he talks such sense too. Lets have more simple fun cars like Mr K asked for.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Ford Mustang
    First Drive
    24 March 2018
    Sixth-generation Mustang gets a leaner face, revised suspension, improved safety equipment and a more power V8. We see how it fares on southern French roads
  • First Drive
    23 March 2018
    Fully-loaded, big-hitting diesel CLS shows the potential perils of ticking too many options boxes on your order form. A good car with a bad suspension combination.
  • BMW M5
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    Super saloon deploys four-wheel drive to improve every facet of its driving experience. Faster and more capable than any, and more exciting than most, of its celebrated predecessors
  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim