Yutaka Katayama has witnessed Japan's automobile industry grow from the ashes of devastation in World War II to become the best in the world by the end of the 20th century.

The 92-year-old Katayama, who served as president of Nissan Motor Corp. U.S.A. between 1965 and 1975, retired 24 years ago, but he is still a charismatic figure among the thousands of fans of the legendary Z car. He is frequently referred to as the father of the original Datsun 240Z, which first appeared on the U.S. market in 1970.

This year, the automaker appointed Katayama an honorary member of its subsidiary, Nissan Motorsports International (NISMO), following its announcement of the launch of a new Z car next year.