Tuesday, January 18, 2022
News Nissan Z Designer Yoshihiko Matsuo Has Passed Away

Nissan Z Designer Yoshihiko Matsuo Has Passed Away

He designed the timeless Nissan 240Z

  • The Nissan 240Z designer died at the age of 86

  • He designed the original Z in his 30s


Yoshihiko Matsuo, the designer of the Nissan 240Z, passed away at the age of 86 on July 11.

He was put in charge of the Nissan Fairlady Z as the Z is known in Japan after working on the redesign of the Bluebird 410. He began working on the first Z in the late 1960s.

The Nissan 240Z went on sale in 1969 as a performance coupe with an affordable price tag. It was called the Datsun 240Z here.

Interestingly, the original Z was designed first in collaboration with Yamaha in the early 60s, but the project was canned because Nissan didn’t like Yamaha’s 2.0-litre engine. Yamaha took their prototype over to Toyota and the car became the 2000GT.

As for the Z, Nissan opted to put a 2.4-litre inline-six that delivered 150 horsepower with a 7,000 RPM redline. The car was sold for roughly $3,500 when it launched, which equates to less than $30,000 today.

Yoshihiko Matsuo was born in 1934 in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture. He began working at Nissan after graduating from Nihon University College of Art. He’s also behind the Daihatsu Midget and the Datsun Baby.

The next generation of the Nissan Z is expected in 2021. It was teased by Nissan last month and is expected to be called the Nissan 400Z. It will replace the current 370Z that has been produced since 2009.

We don’t know what it will look like, but Matsuo’s original design will surely inspire the final design.

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Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur was studying to be a CPA when he decided to drop everything and launch a car website in 2012. Don't ask. The journey has been an interesting one, but today he has co-founded and manages 8 websites including EcoloAuto.com and MotorIllustrated.com as General Manager of NetMedia360. He also sits on the board of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. Send me an email

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