Total Damages exceeds 100 million yen! The “Don of the American car industry,” who is connected to Masashi Tashiro and a legendary rock band, was found to have run away in the night.
A series of incidents in which new cars were purchased but not delivered anytime soon or were delivered much later due to the COVID-19 crisis and the global shortage of semiconductors has seriously affected the field of restoration (restoring an old car to its original condition) and repair. One of the most famous American car dealerships in Japan, Garage K&M, has also been hit by a string of cases in which owners have left their cars unreturned after paying around 10 million yen for them, with the total amount of damage estimated to exceed 100 million yen. When one of the victims went to a store in Chiba Prefecture, he found that the store was already empty.
Confession of victim A, who had left her car at the store
I bought a 1964 Mustang at “Garage K&M” in the fall of ’21 and left it there to be restored. Mr. Matsuoka’s store was very famous in the American car industry and was often featured in car magazines. I had not heard anything bad about his store, so I bought the Mustang from him and left it with him for restoration. The price of the car was 4 million yen and the restoration cost was 3 million yen, for a total of 7 million yen, of which 6 million yen had already been paid. However, the schedule kept getting pushed back, and in the end, the car was not delivered until April, a year and a half later.
We contacted the company several times, but were told that the parts had not arrived and that the car was almost finished. We are working on the last part now. The completion of the project had been delayed for a long time because of the delay in parts due to Corona, but finally, in early April, we could not contact the shop. When I called the store, I heard announcements like, ‘The store is not currently in use,’ so I went to check out the store and found that the car and all the equipment for maintenance were completely gone.”
Mr. A, who purchased his car from Garage K&M, told the author, “I went to the shop and found that the car and all the maintenance equipment were gone. Mr. A, who purchased his car from Garage K&M, continued.”
I signed the contract at a store in Shiohama, Ichikawa City, Chiba Prefecture, but (Mr. Matsuoka) had rented a warehouse in Edogawa, Tokyo, in parallel with this store. This warehouse also had a three-month rent default. Another warehouse in Kashiwaicho, Ichikawa City, was also three months behind in rent payments. The last address in Kashiwa City, Chiba Prefecture, which he used until just before fleeing in the night, he was nine months in arrears of rent and was in court.
Koji Matsuoka, the owner of Garage K&M, had a deep knowledge of old American cars, especially 1960s Mustangs, and he had a wealth of overseas sources for car bodies and parts. He had a wide circle of friends in the entertainment industry, from famous musicians to rock musicians, and was very popular among celebrities who loved American cars. From around 1998 to January 2008, Mr. Matsuoka himself actively transmitted information on his Internet TV program, “Wangan Base. It was also a glamorous program that featured guests such as Masashi Tashiro, Hidemitsu Sato of the legendary rock band “COOLS,” and other celebrities who loved American cars. He was a charismatic figure, having been seen many times holding events with his beautiful young wife in tow.
According to a source with whom he had a friendship, “Until the end of March, the store was open for business as usual, and his valuable American cars were still in the store as before. Recently, however, posts on Matsuoka’s Facebook page began to appear, such as “Please return my car.
Articles about Matsuoka’s store and cars have often appeared in automotive magazines, but he has not been paid by Mr. Matsuoka for the production of the most recent issue or for the operation of the website. Mr. Matsuoka’s diabetes is said to have worsened in recent years and he began receiving artificial dialysis, which is believed to have caused his business to gradually slump. Some of his peers around him said, “I can’t believe it. That Mr. Matsuoka ran away at night? I saw him at an event just recently. The American car industry is in an uproar.
Furthermore, Mr. A’s testimony revealed another surprising fact: the VIN numbers of the cars he purchased from Mr. Matsuoka may have been “forged. The VIN number is a unique number that is stamped on every car when it is manufactured, and once it is stamped on a car, it remains unchanged until the car is scrapped. The VIN number can be used to check the name and address of the current owner and user of the vehicle, as well as all past records.
Mr. Matsuoka said, “When I asked the Transport Bureau to check, they found that the car with the number on the order form did not exist. Mr. Matsuoka told us that he had ‘purchased a car with a Tokorozawa license plate number,’ so if the car had a license plate number in Japan, there must have been a history. …… I asked him to check the history of the car for the past 10 years or so, but he said that the VIN number on the order form had no registration history in Japan. I believe it is a “fictitious” VIN number, as there is no nearby number either.
The possibility that the car was stolen cannot be denied. In fact, there have been several cases in the past where cars imported by Mr. Matsuoka were stolen and could not be registered.
The naked king who can’t do anything by himself?
What kind of person is Mr. Matsuoka? Mr. B, who has known Mr. Matsuoka for a long time and bought a Mustang for 12 million yen in ’17 but has yet to have it delivered, reveals, “He has a certain charm.
There is something about him that attracts me, and people naturally come to him. But, in fact, I can’t do anything myself. I have a wealth of knowledge about cars and experience with trouble when it comes to Mustangs, but Mr. Matsuoka himself cannot do any maintenance on his own. Work was gathered because there were staff members who could do it, but after the Lehman Shock of ’08, the excellent people who had supported Mr. Matsuoka up to that point began to leave, and the combination of delays in outsourced maintenance and the fact that maintenance was done but not fixed led to a sharp decline in work.
This has resulted in significant delays in car deliveries, refunds, numerous arbitrations and court cases regarding various problems, and Mr. Matsuoka himself has been involved in scams that he would not normally fall for. He was unable to do anything but leave it to others, but he may have been cajoled into thinking he was charismatic. ……
Matsuoka’s family is a well-established printing company in Ginza 2-chome, and his own brother owns the company building. Although he seems to have grown up in a wealthy family, some sources say that “Mr. Matsuoka is sloppy with money and has caused his relatives a great deal of trouble with debts, etc., and is insulated from his family.
Calling himself “the best intellectual of classic Mustang American cars,” he has been active in holding events and media exposure, earning him the nickname “Dr. Matsuoka. The presence of a well-established printing company with its own building in Ginza seemed to be a powerful backing, but behind the scenes, however, he had been in debt trouble for almost 10 years now, and was in no condition to ask for help from his parents. In addition, his poor health made it impossible for him to run the business properly, and in April he disappeared with his car and employees, “running away in the night. In order not to ruin the glorious image he had been projecting to others, he had no choice but to put on a bluff. When we rang Matsuoka’s phone to confirm the facts, there was no answer.
A simple calculation of the estimated value of the damaged valuable American cars shows that it easily exceeds 100 million yen. It has been exactly one month since the nighttime runaway was discovered, but it is possible that some people are still unaware of the damage. Considering the feelings of the owners, who had paid a large sum of money and were looking forward to taking delivery of the car, there is no way they could have run away in the night.
Interview and text： Kumiko Kato