Datsun’s Leaping Hare Hood Ornament Wishes You a Prosperous Year of the Rabbit

Datsun Leaping Hare Hood Ornament

The 1935 Datsun Model 14 was Nissan‘s first factory production vehicle and the management deemed, as was appropriate for cars of the era, that a sculpture be affixed to the vehicle’s prow. Luckily, the choice of a figure was right there in the car’s name.

According to Dan Banks, Z Car Club or America historian, Datto connotes the concept of a “speeding hare” in Japanese, and that’s exactly how one would pronounce the first half ot Datsun in its native tongue — dattosan. Shaping of the ornament fell to Ryuichi Tomiya, the in-house designer responsible for everything from paintings in the dealer brochures to the cars themselves. It even required that Tomiya-san take a field trip to the Tokyo zoo. In the end, he modeled it after the rabbits found in the garden of a major Nissan stockholder.

The hood ornament is nickel-plated brass and measures 12 centimeters long. Today, a prime example will fetch nearly $1500 on Yahoo Japan Auctions.

[Special thanks to Dan Banks. Image: Z Car Club of America]

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18 Responses to Datsun’s Leaping Hare Hood Ornament Wishes You a Prosperous Year of the Rabbit

  1. Kevin Lee said:

    i think the hair ornaments would be as good as the lady from rolls royce or the jaguar from jaguar, lol

  2. Tyler said:

    That’s a baller hood ornament.

    Happy New Years from Freja, my zokusha VW Rabbit!

    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4112/5092820666_1f32138967_b.jpg

  3. Jimbob_racing said:

    I would mount that on my Z car in a heartbeat.

  4. KPGC10-001218 said:

    “Datto means “speeding hare” in Japanese…”

    No it doesn’t! There’s NO such name used for a rabbit or hare in Japan.

    The most succinct translation / transliteration of the phonetic “datto” simply implies speed, and more specifically speed in flight ( flight as in running away from something ). You will hear it in an expression such as “Datto no you ni…” meaning “to go like a rabbit” in the same sense that “to go like a tortoise” implies tardiness.

    So “Datto” is NOT a Japanese word for a rabbit or a hare. Ask any native Japanese speaker, and they’ll tell you that it describes an action – not an animal.

  5. Kuroneko said:

    > There’s NO such name used for a rabbit or hare in Japan.

    Except of course for ‘usagi’… I can imagine telling people you drive a Hayai-Usagi perhaps? Neko.

  6. KPGC10-001218 said:

    But that’s the point, Neko. “Datto” does NOT mean “rabbit” or “hare” in Japanese any more than it is common vernacular for the ‘Datsun’ brand in Japan.

    There are many breeds of wild rabbits or hares in Japan ( ‘Nihon no Usagi’ or Lepus Brachyurus Brachyurus being the most common, I believe ) but you’ll get quizzical looks if you ask anyone in Japan where you might find a ‘Datto’, won’t you?

  7. J.A.C.K said:

    Sweet! But year of the rabbit doesn’t start until feb 3 ;-)

  8. KPGC10-001218 said:

    Ben,
    I don’t think there’s any question of it being obscure or outdated usage. Years ago I was asking this very same question to people of all ages in Japan, and getting the same answers. I had read that same “Datto is a type of Hare in Japan” explanation in a book, and could not understand why I could not find a real-world example of such an animal ( I wanted to know if it was a particular Japanese breed, what it really looked like, and if it had its own Taxonomic name an genus ). What was explained to me was that the term ‘Datto’ was simply an abbreviated form of [i]a concept[/i], not a specific type of animal.

    Like most things to do with Japanese language, the root meaning runs quite deep and is bloody hard to understand, let alone explain. I respect Dan Banks and his work ( although I think his viewpoint seems rather over Americanised ) but I believe the ‘Datto means speeding hare’ explanation is far too glib and simplistic. We wind up with people believing that the leaping Hare ornament is a ‘Datto’, when it isn’t. It seems a shame that we – as enthusiasts – would be led astray as to the true significance and meaning of the symbol.

    Not that any of this really matters in the grand scheme of things, but I just feel like I am honour-bound to point out that it’s not as simple as all that……

    • Ben said:

      Ah, then I shall add the word “concept” into the explanation. I know very little Japanese, but I know that there are many ideas expressed with words that are not quite literal. I suspect the term datto might have more to do with the action or spirit of a speeding hare than the animal itself, but obviously I’m not qualified to say for sure. I will see what I can dig up from native Japanese speakers.

  9. Lincoln Stax said:

    I think this is like the common knowledge that the BMW roundel represents a spinning propeller. It doesn’t. It represents an inverted color version of the flag of Bavaria. But the spinning propeller story has been repeated so many times, it’s taken as fact. I think it’s the same thing with everyone believing that “Datto” means speeding hare.

  10. Daniel L. Banks said:

    Sorry about the late arrival… not sure anyone is actually going to read this. I was not aware that JNC had posted the information. Enormously busy with work and family, I have not been on these websites. That is my loss…

    Regarding “Datto,” please excuse my lack of Japanese language fluency, or awareness of the sensitivities readers might have. From the English usage, I would guess you guys are British? KPGC10-001218 would seem to be. I offer this as a sincere compliment. In all the efforts I have made at writing historical works on Datsun, with only very few exceptions, I have never had comments or found comments like this back from Americans.

    Regarding the word “Datto,” I got that from the 1954 edition (3rd published edition) of Kenkyusha’s New Japanese-English Dictionary. It is indicated there were two published versions of this text prior, one in 1918 and one in 1931. I believe more recent editions exist. The dictionary lists words alphabetically in English, the Japanese script follows with English definitions. I have significant experience in languages (not Asian) and, should I ever find the time in this life to study Japanese, I would surely wear out copies of Kenkyusha. Page 184 of my 1954 edition is where this comes from. “Datto – With the speed of a hare; like a scared rabbit; as fast as a coursed hare; with lightening speed…” A second Datto, with a long “O,” appears, but that has the different meaning of secession, or one who bolts. The next entry is “Dattosan n. A ‘Datsun’ [midget car].”

    Datto itself is probably archaic Japanese. Much of the pre-war literature I have collected on the Japanese motor vehicle industry is challenging for modern Japanese to try and translate.

    I had no intention of making a leap (no pun intended) in meaning that “Datto” is a word that defines in Japanese as a rabbit or hare.

    The creation of a leaping hare hood ornament as a symbol selected for the 1935 – 1936 Datsun model 14 motor vehicles is precious. It is an art deco piece seeking to capture a rightful place in the world market, and you will notice 1930s style dress penned by Tomiya-san in the early Datsun brochures. I have had at least one author, working on a book about Art Deco Styling, photograph the leaping hare in my collection. He was amazed by it.

    For an explanation of where the leaping hare hood ornament idea came from in the first place, please see the Biogrpahy of Mr. K as posted on our ZCCA website. Mr. K gave me a good story on that.

    Finally, I have Japanese friends and also have seen it in text that the Japanese affectionately called the Datsun 1000 sedans, also known as the Datsun 110 (earliest brochure in my own collection is dated May 1955), “Datto’s.” They were almost all taxis. These references exist in the earliest western auto media reporting on the post-war rise of the Japanese motor vehicle industry circa 1956 perhaps. Journalists doing the articles interviewed Japanese who gave them the affectionate term Datto for the sturdy little Datsuns.

    Hope this helps,

    Dan

  11. KPGC10-001218 said:

    Dan,
    My comments were in response to the original text, which has now been edited. Since I presume you did not see the original text, your comments and explanation have missed the original point…..

    My Kenkyusha Japanese-English disctionary – always on my desk – is dated 1968, but it still points to the same plain fact that yours does. “Datto” has NEVER been the name of a particular type of animal ( as was implied in the original text here, and all too often elsewhere ) but more a description of an action. In fact my 1968 Kenkyusha simply says “with lightning speed; as fast as one can”, and does not refer to any particular type of animal.

    I’m not sure what my being ‘British’ has to do with any of this, even if it is intended to be a “sincere compliment”?! If you want to pay me a compliment, I’d prefer you to compliment me on being an Englishman, more specifically a Londoner, and one proudly from the *right* side of the river at that….

  12. Daniel L. Banks said:

    Alan,

    I assume the original point was that somebody called Datto a rabbit or hare? It was not me. Had I seen the error as an accusation against my work, I would have offered the corrective above.

    As indicated, I quoted to you from the 1954 Kenkyusha. I chose that edition to purchase because it correlates with the first Tokyo Motor Show of 1954. Note that references to the motion of a “hare” or “rabbit” appear in the first three definitions. That appears to have changed in your edition. At no time is there any reference to the word Datto meaning the actual animal.

    The reference I did make was in response to a question I posed to Mr. K regarding Datsun’s use of the leaping hare hood ornament. I wanted to know if it was unique. He confirmed that the leaping hare, to his best knowledge, is the sole animal-themed hood ornament ever used by any Japanese motor manufacturer. It is an art deco piece made to play off DAT morphing into Datto, and from the mind of one of Datsun’s early engineers who Mr. K felt probably recommended it to Tomiya-san.

    The compliment, my fair Englishman, was that it appeared you actually read something I had written. You have my respect. I welcome constructive criticism. The adversarial tone seems unwarranted, from my point of view.

    Regarding my problem with my viewpoint being rather over Americanised, I am an American – so guilty as charged. However, I can offer to you my close reading of English academics I consider highly valuable in an ongoing effort to cure this. Christopher Madeley’s July 2005 STICERD piece with Stewart Lone was a start, but I have here in my library a copy of “Britain and Japan; Biographical Portraits, Volume III” (1999, Japan Library), as well as “The History of Anglo-Japanese Relations, 1600 – 2000, Volume IV, Economic and Business Relations,” (2002, Palgrave Publishers). Respectively, Dr. Madeley provides a splendid biographical piece entitled “Albert James Penniall: Pioneer of the Japanese Motor Vehicle Industry,” in the first volume, and the exceptional “A Case Study of Anglo-Japanese Coorperation in the Motor Vehicle Indsutry: Ishikawajima, Wolseley, Isuzu and Rootes.” Both these works attest to the English origins of the Japanese motor vehicle industry, and for someone like me, a much needed introduction to the earliest English marques and your very significant history. Available on Amazon but expect to pay $170 to $250 for a new copy. Acceptable reading copies are available for less.

    For me, as I am hardly an academic, finding valuable academic treatise such as these required searching data retreival services at my local library first for scholarly articles on the British, Japanese, American, and other automotive industries. Published academic work is footnoted and documented. I have stacks of them, and also digital copies. My personal automotive library exceeds 300 volumes at this point. There is a significant, if barely known, academic contingient who seriously studies histories of the world’s great automotive industries, including that of Japan. Thus, one can find references, by authors of peer-vetted scholarly works, to their sources and come up with the two volumes above I cite. The volumes I cite above were both given as sources at the end of scholarly text.

    I do use these works, and others that are not American in origin, in the Biography of Mr. K, and you will see my recommendations for reading on pages 12 and 13 of the Nashville ZCon edition of my biography. It is an effort to obtain a less “Americanised” point of view. Being American, it is a struggle.

    The goal for me remains writing with integrity, and writing that is historically honest. To the best that I can do it. Modesty is a good starting point.

    I have been meaning to contact Dr. Madeley for a while now as we have a mutual acquaintance in the children of Don Cyril Gorham. As you may have been aware, Don Gorham recently passed away. They live barely 30 minutes from my home and we spent time with the family to show our respects. I am especially proud of Mr. Gorham’s assistance translating Japanese text for me. His signature, along with Mr. K’s, appears on the dash panel of my 1938 Datsun fire truck. He signed on behalf of his father, whose original pre-Japan Gorham Engineering Company provided pumps for Seagraves fire trucks. Almost surely, William Reagan Gorham consulted with Nissan on the Nissan Model 81 COE fire truck, and perhaps on the little Datsun pumpers. He substantially assisted in the design of the Shinkoyasu Datsun factory. So I asked Don Gorham to sign on behalf of his father.

    Look, you have my personal email. I have a lot of original Datsun material, all scanned and available to reprint and send to you if you would like. Especially interesting for me have been 1930s literature that help authenticate the fire truck. I have not heard of another pre-war example in Japan. Drop me a line. Ben has my full contact info too if you want to go that route.

    You must tell me what being on the “right side of the river” means sometime, Alan.

    V/resp,

    Dan

  13. KPGC10-001218 said:

    Dan,
    Your bibliographical references are very interesting ( I can think of a couple of people who should be made to read stuff like that…. ) but the question as to the meaning of “Datto” – as quoted in my first post on this thread – has already been laid to rest. You are commenting on text that has alredy been edited.

    If it would satisfy your curiosity any, when I write that I find your viewpoint to be “rather over Americanised” I am referring to the likes of the “Z History” ( sic ) pages on the ZCCA website. From these we learn that in 1966 Nissan identified “a market for a new kind of sports car” and that in 1969 “the 240Z goes on sale in the U.S. on October 22…”. and so on, COMPLETELY ignoring half the story. Namely that “Z History” is categorically NOT just about the USA market. This is ‘Z History’ for the much vaunted “New American Century”, I take it?

    Being on the “right side of the river” is a London thing. Perhaps you might get an inkling of what I’m talking about if you imagine being an Englishman, and having an American – seemingly without any irony – pointing out your “English usage”? Think about it.

    Regards,
    Alan T.

  14. Daniel L. Banks said:

    Alan,

    Yes, I have heard the fact of your concerns regarding the full story of the Z, but not exactly your arguments. I would, respectfully, like to know these if you have the time.

    I went back to the ZCCA site to review what is actually posted there under Z History. Those articles were my first efforts at actually writing on this topic. They were penned for the approximately 125 copies each of monthly newsletters for the Z Car Club of Northern Virginia, which I belong to. I wrote them mostly in 2001 through 2004, so in some cases the writing is 10 years ago. In retrospect, reading through them again, I am not displeased at what I was able to find. At no time was I ever interested in equating the Z car with some kind of greater American era. Only that, with some 155,000 sold in America (first generation 240Z) it served as a vehicle to bond enthusiasts together in a civic way. Civic relations are a cornerstone of the American public (and not in the least why we manage to more or less all get along with each other). This is important. It is to be nurtured. The Z’s ability to do this is not unique as an automobile. We car lovers do it with Mustangs, Corvettes, Ford Model A’s, MG, Jaguar, SAAB, VW, etc. My goal was to use my writing to strengthen the civic bonds I found between we members of a Z car club. I made other contributions, and gained friends. It has been a very, very good experience for me.

    This early work is hardly complete, meant to guide others to sources, should they be interested. It is, however, innocent of ulterior motive. I must insist on that to you. Some clumsy sentences, surely. Some incomplete if not wrong statements. Story that is ignored (or, fairly, just not known by the author), yes. But overall, it serves the civic purpose I intended of it.

    Returning to your comment, I remain unsure exactly what you wish to say making a correlation between the Z car’s history and your phrase “… the vaunted New American Century…” It would seem pejorative, but I do not know what you intend by New American Century. That phrase is ubiquitous, yet what a speaker means by it depends on their bias. “Vaunted” implies a tone of American exceptionalism. Politically loaded stuff, Alan. Far from my purpose supporting the civic group dedicated to enthusiasm of an automobile. That is all the ZCCA is about. It is a national organization that affiliates member clubs, who are groups of admirable people (my bias, of course) all enjoying life as we can.

    If a car loving American overcame the conceit in this and were to identify the 20th century as somehow belonging to an exceptional America, and correlate that with a sports car, I would suspect the Corvette wins in the hearts of most Americans who care to think about it that way. It is, after all, American. The Z car is not. Designed in Japan for Japan to have and to export all over as they saw fit… and what was Mr. K supposed to do? He wanted it, and was responsible for Nissan USA. We got a goodly number of them here. Perhaps only a relative few Americans prefered it back in those days of the last century. My love of the Datsun 240Z may not be presumed to exist among the majority of the American car buying public back then, though dozens of American classic car enthusiasts at each classic venue admiring my 240Z in this century, tend to argue against my own point…

    Owning one is lucky thing, and a great pride. That is personal.

    V/Resp.,

    Dan

  15. KPGC10-001218 said:

    Dan,
    Tuning in here from sunny ( yes, sunny ) London, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to make of your “civic purpose” in relation to a web page titled “Z History”. OK – I know that what I’m complaining about is on the ZCCA site ( and therefore needs to be viewed in that context ) but just HOW does your “Z History” page actually reflect, er, ‘Z History’? Reading through it as an innocent bystander you’d be forgiven for believing that this was actually an American car, and that it was not conceived, designed, engineered and produced with more than one market – and one market MODEL at that – in mind. As “Z History” I’m afraid it is just not fit for purpose. Had you ever thought to title it something like “Z History in the USA market”, at the very least? You don’t even mention Canada, so “North American market” would hardly do either.

    I have found that your writing – please take this as a compliment – has been used by journalists and researchers as well as enthusiasts who simply want to know more about their cars. Unfortunately, the erudite and authoritative quality of the writing flatters to deceive in some of its content and I have been forced to correct errors in drafts that seem to have come directly from your articles. Carl Beck is a great ( ahem ) ‘recycler’ of your work for his zhome.com site; so often used for source data and yet laying so many traps along the way. I can see the sources of the mistakes and misjudgments that the journalists make, and yet it seems all but impossible to have the sources corrected.

    An example: For literally years now I have been pointing out some very simple spelling mistakes in the names of major players in your story, and yet these mistakes remain in place. They turn up quite often in text that appears to have been cut and pasted from your page, and if we leave them as they are a little longer it may even prove easier to get these people to change their own names so that they are the same as your spelling mistakes. I’m referring to mistakes like “Yoshisuke” ( it should be Yoshihiko ) Matsuo, Akio “Yoshoda” ( it should be Yoshida, and his given name can be read in two ways too… ) and “Tiichi” ( it should be Teiichi ) Hara. It might seem trivial, and/or excusable in the light of tricky Kanji in Japanese names, but that’s THREE mistakes in the names of THREE major players who have a hard enough time peering out from the giant and extremely dark shadows cast by Yutaka Katayama and the huge overstatement of his role in the story of the S30-series Z. Notice I didn’t write “Datsun 240Z”, as you seem to do when Nissan’s ‘S30-series Z family’ would often be more appropriate.

    Another example: Just a few weeks ago I was asked to look at a draft for a forthcoming magazine article, and this article happened to mention the NISSAN ( not ‘Datsun’, my correction ) CSP311 Silvia. The writer had Goertz down as the “Chief Designer” ( when Kazuo Kimura is now acknowledged as having finished most of its styling before Goertz even pitched up at Nissan ) but had also – somewhat ironically – given credit for the design of the Datsun Roadster on which the Silvia was based to Kazuo Kimura, when it was actually Hidehiro Iizuka’s work. When I asked where the writer got this, he pointed straight to your ZCCA page as the source. Argh!

    I’m quite happy to understand and believe that your intentions are good and honourable, but – in my opinion – if you are going to put pages like that up on the web then there is a RESPONSIBILITY that comes with it. When I sit here in London – as the owner of four Japanese market models – I can’t see how your version of “Z History” includes my cars at all. I’m offended on their behalf…! Much like you I’m proud to own my cars, and yet they and their siblings don’t seem to appear in your version of “Z History” at all, despite the very obvious fact that much of your Datsun 240Z is the way it is because my cars existed too, and vice versa.

    If you can’t see my point after this ( much as Carl Beck doesn’t when I point out errors on the immodestly titled zhome.com ) then I don’t know what to say. It will be a lost cause.

    Respectfully,
    Alan T.

  16. Daniel L. Banks said:

    Hi Alan,

    First, I offer my thanks for the time in preparation and sharing of your thoughts. I would like to address your concerns.

    I have not been clear about what you are looking at on the ZCCA website, vis a vis my contribution. It is simply not my website Alan and, indeed, I can make no claim other than to the three peices that have my name on them. In order, after “Z History,” there is the biography of Mr. K, and then two far older pieces, one a review of available literature about Datsun, and the other a rather overly lengthy piece about the change in name from Datsun to Nissan. The biography is current, the other two pieces were written at the start of my curiousity about Datsun as short articles for about 125 hard copies of a monthly Z club magazine. I have never gone back into them and indeed, have not paid significant attention to the fact they are posted on the ZCCA website. There is very little about the Z car in these two pieces. I knew very little about the car and its history when I wrote them. The rest of what you see on the Z History page is not my work, though it does relate to the Z. I agree that based only on my contribution, a better title is just as you suggest, but I would even make it less Z centric. Something along the lines of Datsun History in the USA.

    It is simply not correct to refer to the ZCCA “Z History” as being mine, as in “your Z History page.”

    The civic purpose in what I wrote does come out and it is important that I be sufficiently clear that you may understand what I mean. Civic, as I use it here, means essentially secular. Not so much the non-religious meaning, but that no judgemental criteria need be met to join the civic group. You may be of any race, religion, nationality, cultural and ethnic heritage, either gender, any age and any level of personal wealth, and join the civic club devoted, in this case, to the Z car. A civic club, thus, represents a way for persons who may be very different, to all come together, find their commonality, and share in life. Absent civic organizations, much of our bonding is done through relatively divisive forum. If I am not your religion I may never meet you in any significant fashion. If I am a wage laborer and not so very well off financially, I may never meet you if you are very wealthy. And so on and so forth. Yet, we have all of these different people in the Z car clubs. Modest people, and very well off people, all different religions, a racially tolerant place where traditionally excluded citizens – African American members feel comfortable with whites (not often an easy situation in America), and etc. My belief is fostering this kind of bonding among people all living together is one of the best ways to social strength, to mutual respect, and enjoyment. What I want you to take away from it is what I intended for a club that has about 120 members, NOT what seems implied by posting those two old pieces on a national website as if they were somehow exemplars of Z History. There is almost nothing about the Z car in them. Our club members did learn things that are pertinent to enjoying our civic group, our hobby, by reading those articles.

    Regarding the errors in spelling, you are correct and those are mistakes. I try not to intentionally make such mistakes today. Having spent quality time with Matsuo-san in Nashville this past year, please don’t tell him that 8 or 9 years ago when I hardly knew who he was I spelled his first name wrong. Mr. K himself corrected my spelling of Yoshida-san, but again, I have never gone back into these articles, paid no attention to them, and here they are posted. The typo in Hara-san is also a mistake. I did not use kanji to come up with the names. I agree with you that misspelling is to be avoided, absolutely. I would certainly have caught the Yoshihiko – Yoshisuke mistake if I had re-read these old pieces. (Getting our webmaster to change something is another matter… though I understand we are making progress there).

    Regarding Carl Beck, I am not sure what he has put up on his website lately but cannot imagine any of the research I would wish to be credited with is there. Only my more recent work is up to any kind of standard, and it is mostly history about Datsun that pre-dates the Z. Remember, I am an amateur enthusiast who reads books. I would not presume that anything Carl places on his website, unless he explicitly stated it came from me, was other than from his own hugely significant knowledge base. He is the real Z historian in America. He has forgotten more about Z cars that I have ever known. My claim to his time, has been that I am an interested listener, and I always respect what he says. Sometimes I do not agree, but mostly I lack the base of knowledge to do other than listen and learn. That is valuable for me.

    It is the biography of Mr. K I wrote that is something else. It is separate from the above and I would hold it to critical peer review. It is doing well. There is very little about the Z car in it, but far more of the story of Mr. K., the path of his life and his times. It is a compilation of carefully read, and cited, research. (I have given you some citations already). Of information directly given to me by Mr. K. Of visual images of memorabilia long forgotten that I have found and display.

    I hope you do not find what I am going to say overly immodest now, but there is something here I am proud of. The current Spring 2011 issue of the quarterly publication Motor Trend Classic is running an 8-page interview of Mr. K written by Motor Trend Executive Editor Edward Loh. The interview was done around the time of his 101st birthday. Edward read my biography of Mr. K for Nashville Z Con on the ZCCA website and contacted me for permission to use facts and some text to round out his interview. I, and ZCCA, enthusiastically agreed and are given credit at the end of the interview. I am very proud of this accomplishment.

    My reference to Kimura-san as stylist on the Fairlady is surely innacurate if only taken from an old Z club newsletter article. It does not note details from Phill Brook’s “Fair Lady; Japan’s First Sports Car” I was subsequently able to read (and should re-read now that I have pulled it out to find the citations). Published in 2000, yes, but I did not have a copy until later. Brook asserts Kimura-san as the stylist for the 1600 and 2000 market models that were altered from the Hidehiro Iizuka original based on Katayama’s request for his perceived American market (page 55 in my copy, but let me re-read it if you want to discuss). It is unfortunate that someone is using the references in an old article I never intended to be substantive source materials and getting his facts wrong, instead of getting the correct story so easily available in Brook. Maybe both those old articles should be purged from the site. Or I should go back into them and fix the errors.

    Regarding Kazuo Kimura, my interest in him was peaked reading Goertz autobiography, You’ve Got to be Lucky. Goertz stated in his autobiography that the fellow he worked on the first Silvia with, over the years after he finished his contract at the Yamaha facitliy in Hamamatsu with Nissan, was someone from Nissan who met him upon returning to Japan for other industrial design contracts. Goertz was told “we always come back to your design.” This was a reference, I am sure, to Kimura-san, and the S30-series Z. In the several conversations and exchanges of letters I had with Goertz in the years before he passed away, I could not get that out of him. Kimura-san is apparently quite famous and I sent letters to him and emails but have never received a response. I have not tried to contact him for 7 or 8 years though.

    My motion with Datsun is entirely backwards now. I am far more interested in the origins of all of this. Should I ever try to write something about Nissan’s S30 series Z family, or the Datsun 240Z as we Americans ended up calling it, which I have not really done so far, I will be careful to insure full reference to its place in other markets. Your sentiments are important. I get it. As ZCCA calls its annual Convnetions “International” and cites its geographical area as North America, it should include broader coverage that does include your car and its history for you. I support your opinion. It is just that I am not sure I am your man, Alan.

    I own one 240Z and have spent 100s of hours not driving it at all but painstakingly detailing and making it as beautiful as it can be. The paint is original as is most of the interior. The engine and undercarriage has been removed and restored. I paid a restoration professional to do that work. I could not have done it myself. No time, no experience, insufficient tools… None of this qualifies me to write something about these cars as substantive as my biography of Mr. K…. yet. I can always read, talk with people, learn, and write to withstand critical peer review.

    I think you otherwise are giving me far too much credit for influencing understanding of the S30-series Z family.

    A thought… The position I hold, ZCCA Historian, is not elected but merely an honorary position. We do have elected leadership at ZCCA and I talk with them. I could suggest we find another voice to write a piece that expresses the points you would make. Would you be willing to be that author for us? I can recommend it, if you wish. It could give you an opportunity, if you felt it acceptable to your concerns, to voice the needed corrections, the proper perspective as you would define it.

    Getting late here…

    Dan

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