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I was wondering about the 4 month delay bit and !!!!ROAD SHAKE!!!!!.... it seems to contrast against the trial period and production dates as the problem was not resolved until much later and there seems to be no 4 month delay from road tests to start of production? Reference thread: http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/open-general-discussions/7801-production-number-1969-a.html

Edited by Blue
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There's so much more than that wrong with it.

The 'Kaku U' North American road testing / dealership tour story is always good to hear about, but reading the manga you'd be forgiven for believing that no testing was being done back in Japan whatsoever, which is ( literally ) several hundred thousand Kilometers away from the truth. Nissan was testing the cars hard in Japan, and had come to many of the same conclusions as the 'Kaku U' team would anyway.

A word about the diff positioning / driveshaft angle / fuel tank placement issue: This whole topic is much more involved than the manga made it seem, and some of the real reasons for the original fuel tank size / location were not touched on. Part of the 'solution' being presented as Nissan Shatai's lightening of the body by 50kg ( to give "better mileage" ) mixes the story up other issues that were being dealt with, and what did they reportedly do after their 'Eureka' moment of realising that this "Road Shake" ( already known about back in Japan )? Not much. Not until they could do a lot of re-engineering, anyway. In the meantime they sold the cars regardless...

The whole basic premise seems to make the story revolve around Katayama ( and peripherally Matsuo ), which might well be a good plot device for a drama but falls way short for historical truth. It's a sad irony that Japanese writers have swallowed so much of the USA-centric / Katayama-centric version of events over the years that they now recycle it for Japanese eyes and ears. I've said many times ( upsetting some ) that isolating Katayama and putting him on such a high pedestal really only serves to cast deep and dark shadow over so many other sides to the story, and to obscure the stories of other imprtant individuals. Katayama was/is a great man, but was perhaps rather lucky to find himself paddling his board out to meet one very large wave. A wave that broke on the shore of the late Seventies and which certainly never came again for him. We will probably never see one again either.

The manga also gets some names wrong. In fact, it spells the name of one character two different ways on different pages and gets the given name of one ( important ) character wrong altogether. Not what you'd hope or expect.

How come nobody ever gives us the epilogue to all this either? What happened afterwards? If this ( apocryphal! ) story of Nissan making cars "for the USA" was so successful, then why did they not repeat it? If Katayama was so influential, then how come he didn't repeat the miracle and was so soon hung out to dry? If the S30-series Z did "change automotive history" ( did it? ) then what was its legacy? That's stuff that we tend not to talk about much, isn't it?

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I'm admiring it for its outstanding comic artistry and its ability to tell a good story. Story being the operative word of course. Every movie or book ever written about any piece of historic reality becomes a characature of the actual events as the author tells the story his way, making whatever point he is trying to make.

I doubt the objective was ever to get all the details correct, but to tell the tale of the struggle and personalities of the people involved, and its eventual effect on the Nissan corporations image, and on each one of us. If the hope was that everyone who knew the word "Datsun" but not the background, now has at least the feeling for the long and proud history, and the characters, that have lead us here.

This story is not unique, nearly every successful car or business of any kind has an untold number of these "success" stories with their own cast of relative unknowns who become inspiring heroins, but this story for me at least, is another source for inspiration and the feeling that I participate in something worthwhile. Sappy, yes, but that's the way it is.

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I doubt the objective was ever to get all the details correct, but to tell the tale of the struggle and personalities of the people involved, and its eventual effect on the Nissan corporations image, and on each one of us. If the hope was that everyone who knew the word "Datsun" but not the background, now has at least the feeling for the long and proud history, and the characters, that have lead us here.

The "it's just entertainment" defence doesn't really wash. This book is the English translation of a Japanese manga that was released in parallel with NHK's long running and well respected 'Project X Challengers' TV series. The TV documentary that it's a spin-off from told the story in quite a different way ( I've got it on DVD ). Over the years, 'Project X' built a reputation for being thoroughly researched and well written. Akira Yokoyama's manga really isn't up to the same standard. Why not?

People said that the History Channel documentary on the 'Datsun 240Z' was very entertaining, but that too was full of misleading 'facts' and started out with a similarly flawed perspective. People use this stuff as a source for research and understanding, but it's not really fit for purpose.

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People said that the History Channel documentary on the 'Datsun 240Z' was very entertaining, but that too was full of misleading 'facts' and started out with a similarly flawed perspective. People use this stuff as a source for research and understanding, but it's not really fit for purpose.

Are you saying that TV and the internet are NOT reliable sources of accurate information? ;) Unfortunately, there's an entire generation that believes they are.

Dennis

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