TOKYO -- Legendary Nissan pioneer Yutaka Katayama, known to fans in the United States as Mr. K, is aging just as well as the sporty Z car he championed four decades ago.
As he marks his 100th birthday, the founding father of Nissan in America is characteristically candid, offering opinions on the Z car's drift from its origins, Nissan Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn and the resurrection of the Datsun brand -- something he desires.
"Every day I die at night, but I am reborn again in the morning. I feel 1 day old," Katayama told Automotive News before quietly celebrating his Sept. 15 milestone with family.
As head of U.S. operations for what was then Datsun, Mr. K paved the way for Japanese imports to the United States during the 1960s, bringing in the 510 sedan and then the 240Z. The two were instant hits.
But Katayama pulls no punches about the 370Z -- the most recent incarnation of his baby.