QotW: What’s your best Mr K story?

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The news of Mr K’s passing this weekend moved many, especially in the US where he was instrumental in guiding the Datsun brand in its formative years. After retirement in 1977, Mr K remained an active ambassador to the brand, traveling across the country to Nissan shows and meeting his fans. It seemed impossible to go to any gathering of classic Datsun owners without running into someone with a heartwarming Mr K story to tell, from owners whose cars he signed to former Datsun dealership employees to even his former secretary to whom he bestowed his beloved yellow 240Z when he retired.

Mr K’s larger-than-life persona impacted even those who never met him, by being part of the Datsun community.

What’s your best Mr K story?

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the one modern feature you wish JNCs had?” Continue reading

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VIDEO: The Life and Times of Mr K

Mr K Datsun 240Z

Last September, on the occasion of Yutaka Katayama’s 105th birthday, Nissan produced a series of videos honoring the influential former executive. The sad news came out of Tokyo today that Mr K had passed away on Thursday, but as you can see from this video, even at his advanced age, Mr K was cheerful, humorous, and passionate as ever about cars.  Continue reading

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RIP Yutaka “Mr K” Katayama, 1909-2015

Mr K Yutaka Katayama

Yutaka Katayama, beloved former Nissan executive and noted sports car enthusiast, passed away Thursday at the age of 105. Known as “Mr K” and respected and adored by legions of Nissan owners, Katayama was responsible for many of the early successes of Nissan, as well as some of the pivotal events in the Japanese auto industry at large, but above all he was one of us, a car enthusiast.  Continue reading

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Chicago Auto Show: Mazda reveals Heritage Collection of accessories

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Leading up to the Chicago Auto Show, Mazda announced it was releasing a Heritage Collection of accessories. Needless to say, we at JNC were very excited. Not only that, but the show would be a reunion of sorts, as the original Mazda MX-5 Miata was debuted at this very show 26 years ago.  Continue reading

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NEWS: Mazda is 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed’s featured marque

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Mazda will be the featured marque at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year. It will have been eight years since a Japanese marque has taken center stage. One of the world’s premiere automotive events, the FoS takes place on the estate of an English Duke about two hours outside of London. It’s a car show, race, and celebration of the automobile as art.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2015 New Year Meeting, Part 05 — Racers and Replicas

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There is no shortage of motorsports history in Japan, and it’s not uncommon there to find road-going replicas of some of of the nation’s most iconic — and some not-so-iconic — competition machines. Here at the New Year Meeting, it’s a collection of replicas, racers, and homologated street cars.  Continue reading

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MOTORSPORT: Nissan puts the “LM” back in GT-R

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JNC owners, myself included, love to spout on about the superiority of rear-wheel-drive to anyone that will listen (and many whom won’t). Nissan wants to prove all of us wrong with a front-wheel-drive GT-R. No, that is not a typo. The latest evolution of the legendary GT-R name is driven by the same wheels as a Honda Civic. Continue reading

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KIDNEY, ANYONE? Orange Mazda Cosmo Sport goes to auction

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Joining the Nissan Fairlady Z432 going across the block this year at Amelia Island is a 1968 Mazda 110S, which is the name for a Mazda Cosmo made for export. This car, as you may have noticed, is a rather unique shade of custom orange. Originally sold in the standard Swan White, it was repainted within the last year to its current hue for reasons unknown. The jury is still out on what the Bonhams “Give me originality or give me death!” crowd will think about the color, but the rotary engine-pioneering car itself is nothing to scoff at.  Continue reading

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Chicago Auto Show: 1967 Toyota 2000GT

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For those of you in the midwest dying to see an honest-to-god 1967 Toyota 2000GT in real life, get thee down to the Chicago Auto Show, going on until February 22. Toyota is taking three of its classics on tour, displaying its supercar alongside a 1961 FJ25 Land Cruiser and an IMSA GTP racer. These are the same cars we covered at the Los Angeles Auto Show so there’s no need to go into detail again, but it’s a rare opportunity to see a rare JNC if you’re in the midwest. And, with a value north of $1 million, it’s one of the most expensive cars in the entire show too.

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QotW: What’s the one modern feature you wish JNCs had?

Lexus LX bluetooth

As pilots of decades-old Japanese warhorses, we all pride ourselves on driving the simplest, everything-you-need-nothing-you-don’t motoring experiences. Blind spot monitors? Ha! Backup cameras? Ha! Airbags? Double ha! We are hard core. Sometimes though, as hard as it is to admit, isn’t just the sliiiightest bit difficult to go from a modern car to your old school steed?

What’s the one modern feature you wish JNCs had?

I once thought it was fine with a tape adapter. Take a couple seconds to plug my phone into the $10 accessory and suddenly I have all the music, podcasts, and streaming audio in the world playing through a 30-year-old piece of technology. But then I step into a new car equipped with the Tooth of Blue and all of that seems hopelessly clunky — the cables, the two-second plug-in time, the instant start/stop, and the lack of ability to take phone calls. It’s almost enough to make me consider buying a car built in the last decade and a half, as even the cheapest of cheapo subcompacts now come with Bluetooth. Or I could just get another adapter, I guess.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Which Japanese automaker has stayed truest to its roots?Continue reading

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