As per my original post to that subject on this thread, I was responding to a poster on the Bring-a-Trailer auction comments section (for the car we have been discussing here) who made some strange claims about Katayama. Here's a reminder of what he wrote:
" Mr. Yutaka Katayama (RIP) must be quite honored that his design has such a devoted fan base with so much knowledge. On another level, I can only surmise that first and foremost he designed this car with the driving experience in mind. I’d love to hear more stories from the experienced about the well thought out the driving position is, how smooth the sweet 6 is at revs, how compliant the suspension (IRS) is over poor roads, the fluid throw of the shifts, and so on. No doubt he dedicated countless hours designing these tactile elements into that pretty styling exercise. These are what make this car so very special. I’d love to read more about the experience."
As you will know, in 1998 Yutaka Katayama was inducted into the 'Automotive Hall Of Fame'. His Automotive Hall Of Fame biography contains the following sentence:
"Shunning conventional wisdom, he created and promoted cars and trucks designed for a new type of consumer".
Do you believe that Katayama "created" - in any practical sense of the word - any of the products that NMC USA was selling? You appear to agree with me that he did not, but there are many people - apparently even in the Automotive Hall of Fame - who clearly believe that he did. There are many more examples of this 'out there' both in print and online.
I'm wondering if you consider Katayama's input/feedback to be the reason for the North American market variant HLS30Us being equipped with Warner synchro 4-speed transmissions, 3.364:1 ratio diffs, soft springing and damping, slow steering ratios and less of the bells and whistles seen in other market variants? Was Katayama responsible for making the North American market Zs less sporty than others, or was that out of his control? If it was out of his control, is his much-vaunted influence being overstated? Genuine questions.
Yes, Katayama was requesting more power (mostly via bigger displacement) but so were any number of others within Nissan, within their Japanese competition - Toyota and Honda for example - and within their customer base in Japan. It was inevitable, and it was coming whether Katayama had been calling for it or not. Again, Katayama being credited with something that already had its own impetus and trajectory.
What were the "anemic tin boxes" you mention? Is this not a conflation of earlier stories regarding the likes of the 210-series Bluebird? You can see the same impetus with the 310 and 410-series cars pointing the way forward to the 510 and beyond, and the SP/SR roadsters being successful enough in their own right as Nissan's sports car to be superseded by a new coupe when international safety regulations threatened the death of open-top sports cars. Where exactly was Katayama's influence a KEY factor here?
Throwaway Iines there. Look, if I point out that The Beatles didn't write 'Twist and Shout' or that the Rolling Stones didn't write 'Little Red Rooster', it doesn't mean I'm dissing the Beatles or the Stones. They were both great in their own right (and write...) but creative credit should go where it is due. Bert Berns and Willie Dixon respectively, right?
I want to assure you that I think of Yutaka Katayama as a major figure in Nissan - and Japan's - history and, as I've pointed out up-thread, I am not attempting to take away any credit that he rightly deserved for achievements that he was rightly credited with. In setting up the NMC USA dealer network (following Volkswagen's model) along with Soichi Kawazoe and others, and very much being the 'face' of Nissan in the USA at such a crucial time, he deserves the plaudits. But he is often credited with the work of others, or with things that would be happening anyway, and that is wrong.