Yutaka Katayama, 'father of the Z,' dead at 105

Yutaka Katayama, a former Nissan executive credited with being the "father of the Z," has passed away at the age of 105. He died in a Tokyo hospital Thursday as a result of heart failure, his son, Mitsuo, confirmed to the Associated Press.

Katayama retired from Nissan in 1977, and for a time, ran the company's US division. He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in both the US and Japan, and is most notably remembered as being the man who gave life to the original Datsun Z sports car. Within the Z fan club community, where he is known simply as "Mr. K," Katayama is widely revered and respected.

"With a love of cars and a flare for promotion, he built the Datsun brand, Nissan's initial brand name in the US, from scratch," the Japanese automaker said on its website last year, according to the Associated Press.

Katayama is survived by his wife, four children, 11 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. Our hearts go out to Mr. K's family, and the entire Z community.

Share This Photo X