A Total of 800 Million Yen! The Unveiling of World-Class Ferrari Collection of a Japanese Doctor | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A Total of 800 Million Yen! The Unveiling of World-Class Ferrari Collection of a Japanese Doctor

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The F40 and F50 he owns are special cars for Dr. Sato.

Dr. Masaru Sato, who is the director of a clinic in Chiba Prefecture, is a world-famous Ferrari owner who is well known to those in the know. Dr. Sato currently owns a total of four Ferraris (F40, F50, Pista, and GTC4 Lusso) as well as a Honda He owns several luxury cars, including an NSX, a Porsche 911, and a Bentley for commuting.

The total (market value) of the luxury cars he owns is about 800 million yen.

We visited Dr. Sato at his mansion in Chiba Prefecture, where a dizzying array of luxury cars line the streets, and asked him about his passion for Ferraris.

Dr. Sato’s passion for Ferraris is “a passion that I have never had before. In fact, many doctors don’t have time for hobbies and can only spend money on cars. I have no other expensive hobbies, and the only woman I love is my wife (laughs).

The home garage looks like a Ferrari museum. Six sports cars are placed in the garage.
Dr. Sato being interviewed in his garage.

Dr. Sato is 66 years old, born in ’55. He graduated from Chiba University School of Medicine in 1981 and obtained his M.D. from the university’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery for his research on the lumbar spine. After working at a hospital in Chiba Prefecture, he opened his own clinic in 1992.

He says, “I am not quite part of the ‘super car generation’ (the super car boom that swept across Japan in the late 1970s) that is often referred to. For me, the origin of Ferrari is the first slot car boom (around ’65-’71). I was in the upper grades of elementary school at the time and was obsessed with slot cars. Products from U.S. companies such as COX, Monogram, Revel, and K&B were high-priced, and among them, the Ferrari ones were the most coveted. The first Ferrari slot car I bought, a Revel “Ferrari 250 GTO,” was my very first Ferrari.

I bought my first real Ferrari in the spring of ’94. I bought a used late model ’88 328 GTS. I was 38 years old, a year and 10 months after starting my orthopedic practice, and I was planning to buy a 328 GTB or GTS as a gift to myself when I turned 40. I was able to buy it a little earlier than that. Since then, I have fallen in love with supercars and have bought a 355 GTB, 360 Challenge Stradale, F40, 430 Scuderia, F50, 458 Speciale, 488 Pista, and GTC4 Lusso.”

Of the four Ferraris he currently owns, Dr. Sato says the F40 and F50 are the most special. the F40 is a commemorative car for Ferrari’s 40th anniversary and was built by Enzo Ferrari. As the last one, it is known as a legendary car among the many famous Ferraris. Its top speed of 324 km/h was the fastest ever recorded for a production car at the time.’ Sales began in 1987 at the price of 46.5 million yen, and in Japan it was traded at the price of 200 to 300 million yen during the bubble period that came soon after.

After that, the price declined year by year, but in recent years, the price has skyrocketed to the level of the bubble period, riding on the wave of Ferrari’s soaring prices. In recent years, some Ferraris have been sold at overseas auctions for over 200 million yen.

Nearly 30 years ago, I built a lot of F40 slot cars and used to take my sons to play in slot car races on weekends. I also collected many miniature cars and plastic models, and one day I will buy a 1/1 (real car) F40! I had been thinking about it. I bought it in ’04. At the time, I thought, “Who would buy a car that broke down so often?” The price was very cheap. I think it was a time of rock-bottom prices. We had no idea that prices would soar this high.

The F50, on the other hand, was produced in a limited edition of 349 units worldwide to commemorate Ferrari’s 50th anniversary, following the F40. The F50 is an extraordinary car that reproduces the mechanism of an F1 car in a road car based on the concept of “an F1 car on public roads.

Dr. Sato purchased the F50 in 2010. The previous owner was Yoshiho Matsuda, a businessman of the “Matsuda Collection. He used to own the Ferrari Museum in Gotemba and the Porsche Museum in Hakone, and is one of the world’s leading supercar collectors.

When I was thinking about purchasing a Ferrari in the early ’00s, there were four F50s available in Japan, but I kept thinking about the yellow F50 that Mr. Matsuda owned. A few years later, I finally received information that Matsuda-san was going to give it away. I want Matsuda-san’s F50 at any cost! I had strongly hoped that this would be the case, but the other party is a world-class collector. We thought about how we could get them to sell it to us, and we both decided to negotiate with an agent.”

In accepting Matsuda’s F50, the company began with a character evaluation to determine whether he would be a suitable owner. Dr. Sato had been a member of the Ferrari Club organized by Mr. Matsuda, and he also knew Dr. Sato. He decided that he could sell the car to Dr. Sato, and negotiations were successfully concluded.

While the prices of Ferraris from the ’80s and ’90s are rising worldwide, the F50 continues to soar at an unprecedented rate. At the “Arcurial Retromobile Auction” held in France on March 18 this year, it was sold for approximately 550 million yen, the highest price in history. This is about eight times the price when Dr. Sato purchased it from Mr. Matsuda.

Such a “super” luxury car requires a huge amount of money for maintenance. For example, the replacement cost of a gasoline tank is 2 million yen for an F40, and a whopping 3.5 million yen for an F50. The price of a gasoline tank alone is enough to buy a whole car.

ALPHATAURI-spec Honda NSX (left) and his wife’s favorite sports car, a Porsche 911 Carrera (right)
Four-passenger Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T (35 million yen). A Ferrari 488 Pista (46 million yen) can be seen in the back.

At the end of the interview, we asked Dr. Sato for his views on the recent surge in Ferrari prices.

Dr. Sato answered, “I think that when the price of something that everyone needs skyrockets, such as the masks that caused problems with resale at the beginning of the Corona disaster, it should be controlled so that the price is appropriate. But as for supercars, they are a product for only a very few people. The reason why a supercar is priced at a premium is because there are many people who recognize the value of the supercar, and I think it is inevitable.

There are rumors that Ferrari dealers do not accept first-time visitors. What do you think about that?

I don’t think that’s true at all. I think that dealers are eager to attract new customers. Even if they have been customers for a long time, not all of them have a stable level of trust, and many of them may be in an industry that has its ups and downs.

Automobile manufacturers around the world are nowadays moving toward electrification. Electric supercars that pursue speed are beginning to appear on the market, but supercars with premium engines built purely on technology, such as the F40 and F50, are unlikely to appear anytime soon. Therefore, it would not be surprising if further price hikes occur in the future.

9 Ferraris I have owned so far, reproduced in 1/43 miniature with the same interior and exterior colors as the actual cars.
In the JCCA race held in Tsukuba in October ’19, the Fairlady 240ZG won the overall P class championship.
  • Interview and text Automotive Journalist Kumiko Kato Photo Hiroto Kato

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