QotW: What’s your best Mr K story?

0297jp3278_Datsun_240Z_S30_Mr_K

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?”

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Once again, many great answers filled the comments this week, but there was one that came up over and over again: cupholders. It’s almost hard to believe this cutting edge technological leap didn’t come about until the 90s. Of all the cupholder wishes, we liked Steve‘s answer the best:

Other than cup holders, I can’t think of any modern feature not available in JNCs that I would wish JNCs had. In fact, I wish modern cars were more like JNCs: no airbags, no ABS, no traction control, RWD, manual transmissions, carbureted, smaller, lighter, 60-series tires, no cat cons.

 

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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4 Responses to QotW: What’s your best Mr K story?

  1. John M said:

    Mr. K and I have enjoyed many good times together. When I was stationed in Japan in 1990, he saw my jaw drop as my Japanese coworker drove up in a new Z32. When I got reassigned to Okinawa, he sat with me on the seawall watching the Zs take on Skylines and RX-7s. When I went to college, he rode along with me every day on my commute in my 280Z. When my daughter was born, we had a long discussion about selling my Z32. When I visited the Datsun Museum in Murrieta, we looked at the Smith Flyer together and appreciated the simplicity. When I went to look for my next Z, he helped convince the family to sell the 260Z they had bought new from Gardena Datsun in 1975. When I visited Japan in 2013, he was waiting for me at the Nissan Engine Museum (former HQ), NISMO HQ, Nissan GHQ, and Zama. When I bought my 370Z, we had another long discussion about the hope for a lighter, driver-oriented Z. When we had our car show last year, he had his assistant Johnnie bring out his yellow 240Z as our feature car. I have never met Mr. K, but we have enjoyed many good times together and I know he will be waiting for me again when I visit Japan this summer.

  2. David said:

    I was stationed in Japan from 200-2003; around May of 2000 my friend Erik and I went a Z car meet in Yamaha Park (I think it was called; It was a long right from Yokosuka). We got there early; I see Mr K. sitting under a canopy, no one bothering him. I ask my friend Erik; why do you think he is there all alone?, Erik said: “People here don’t go all crazy over him here like they do in the states”. Erik would know as he grew up in Ebina area of Japan. I approached Mr. K with my Z Club of San Diego hat in hand. I introduced myself to him and we made some small talk. At the time Nissan had not decided on the body for the new Z; I asked what he thought of the 2 designs one from Japan and the other was from NDI La Jolla. Mr K said to me both were good but the Japanese designed one was “Much Better”. It was a really nice encounter. I got pictures of he and I together that day. I thank Erik for taking me that day. It was a real pleasure in a great setting.

  3. spriso said:

    From my interview with early Datsun roadster racer (and Datsun Dealer) Jack Scoville in Feb, 2000:

    Jack picked up his first racing Datsun, a 2000, chassis number SRL-00004, in 1968. The car was not in good shape. But Mr K saved the day.

    JS-Shortly after running Ray’s 2000, Datsun gave us a production low windshield 2000 to run. It was the one that Dwayne Feuerhelm raced, number 00004. Feuerhelm had raced the car at Riverside. It had popped out of 5th gear going down the straight and had blown a hole in the block when the engine over-revved. My comment when my son Jeff and I took a trailer down to pick it up was that the only good part of the car was the seat, and they’d taken the seat out!! (Laughs).

    We took the car back to Nissan headquarters in Gardena. Mr Katayama came out of the building and crawled up onto the trailer. He looked under the hood and said “Oh my!”. Less than twenty minutes later, a man came out with a forklift with a complete new engine assembly – when I say complete, it came with EVERYTHING, right down to the Solexes, starter, alternator, flywheel – you name it – it was there. Mr K just smiled and wished us a good day!!

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