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.
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.”