Kiyoyuki “Ken” Okuyama is a famous car designer. The most famous of his works is probably the Ferrari Enzo – one of the most iconic supercars of all time.
theo japan timesIn October 2022, he was arrested by the police for speeding one of his own models. However, until now, new information has attracted attention after the court’s decision on the infringement committed by him.
Accordingly, Okuyama was driving at 128 km/h on a minor road in the countryside of Yamagata Prefecture – also his hometown – with a 40 km/h speed limit. This is such a large margin of violation that it is forced to go to court under a criminal judgment.
The matter was brought to court in February 2023. Okuyama pleaded guilty. However, it was his defense that really caught everyone’s attention.
His lawyer and Okuyama argued in court that he needed to maintain a certain speed to prevent the Ferrari Enzo from overheating. Because if you drive at the permitted speed, there isn’t enough air to cool the 6.0L V12 engine of a $3 million car.
However, while this was technically correct, prosecutors deemed Okuyama’s wrongdoing too serious, thus recommending a four-month prison sentence.
Yamagata Court Judge Osamu Imai agreed with the seriousness of the case, but changed it to a two-year suspended sentence after Okuyama realized his mistake and publicly apologized.
After the trial, Okuyama told reporters: “I assure you that this will never happen again. And I will make a positive contribution to society. I sincerely apologize.”
Kiyoyuki “Ken” Okuyama is such a prominent car designer that even the official Japanese government website reports that he has made an “international impact that transcends cultural boundaries”.
After taking over as design director at Pininfarina in 1995, Okuyama became the first non-Italian to design the Ferrari Enzo. In addition, he designed several other supercars for Ferrari, Maserati as well as Porsche (including the 996 generation 911).
Most of the cars made by Okuyama are not popular. So, despite being lucky to have escaped prison, Okuyama now has to be very careful not to temper the enthusiasm while sitting down to his masterpieces. Otherwise, even according to one legend, Okuyama is not immune to the “bar”.