Farewell To The 240Z’s Designer
Yoshihiko Matsuo has passed away at 86

Yoshihiko Matsuo, the designer responsible for the iconic Datsun 240Z/Nissan Fairlady Z, passed away on 11 July at the age of 86.

Matsuo was the Chief of Design in the Z car project team back in the 1960s. He began creating automotive concepts in high school and helped design the Daihatsu Midget when he was still studying at the Nihon University College of Art. Once graduated, Matsuo joined Nissan and was in charge of the Bluebird 410 redesign project. After that, Matsuo was placed in the company’s first modelling department and started creating the S30 Z car.

Things worked slightly differently back in the 60s; Matsuo and his team did much more than just pen the shape of the car. Tasks such as planning the mechanical layout, determining the types of materials used and even sourcing them, deciding on the market segment, and more all fell to the team. At the time, this worked to the team’s advantage as Matsuo’s vision could translate into a successful product for the mass market, without interference.

The Datsun 240z was introduced to the world in 1969 as a sporty, elegant, yet affordable vehicle for the public. The coupe was fitted with a 2.4-litre  inline six engine delivering 151 hp and 198 Nm of torque with max 7,000 rpm, backed up by a four-speed manual transmission sending power to the rear wheels.


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