I've grown fonder of this episode over the years, due to its quirkiness. I especially enjoy how Columbo annoys Mr. Charles Clay at every turn ("Japan is... THAT way???; putting his arms around him; stuffing him into the car) and Robert Vaughn's delivery of several lines ("I like everything... PRELIMINARY")
I too have softened on this episode recently. I find it quirky and unusual, although there are some bits that I have to mute the TV for (the shouting at the ship yard, and the daughters drunken hysterics).
A point of trivia: The house used in this (where Columbo bundles everyone into the car), is the same house as used in the later episode, Murder in Malibu. It’s almost identical, despite being quite a few years between the two episodes.