The Japanese were waiting for their very own sports car, having successfully hosted their first and second Grand Prix events in 1963 and 1964. The Japanese public were thrilled with everything motor sport and eager to own a car with pace and ability.
Toyota quickly latched on to this. They were eager to showcase their new technology and know-how in a brand new high performance, practical GT car known as the Toyota 2000GT. The prototype, built in 1965 under contract by Yamaha, was unveiled at the 12th Tokyo Motor Show in the same year.
The Toyota 2000GT was finally released into the domestic market in May 1967. As a low volume model it boasted exotic materials and unheard of specification levels. The car was not assembled on Toyota’s regular production lines, production was outsourced to Yamaha, which had the facility to piece the cars together in small batches and carefully finish each by hand.
Performance of the Toyota 2000GT was world-class with top speeds of up to 140mph, although only 351 were ever produced making this GT race car a very rare thing today.
This Asian supercar won’t be found in the local classifieds, as they are now an ultra rare piece of classic Japanese machinery. Most examples will have been restored by now so should be in impressive shape.
Firstly, check the condition of the windscreen, as replacements are rarely available and if you manage to find one it will cost a fortune to buy.
Make sure jacking plates are connected to the sub-sill and rocker as with restoration these can often be left out. Build quality is outstanding on the Toyota 2000GT and the Aluminium body work stands the test of time well, but look out for poor repair work.
The six cylinder engine is capable and reliable for at least 150,000 miles between rebuilds. Look out for oil being burned as it passes worn piston rings, and if you notice a stutter under acceleration then it could have camshaft wear.
Interiors are plush, but snug for anyone taller than five foot eight. Benefitting from Yamahas piano making business, the fascia of the Toyota 2000GT was clad in beautiful rosewood panelling.
Original wheels are magnesium although replicas are available in alloy nowadays. Although a Toyota 2000GT in good condition should have its original wheels.
Two one-off topless models of the Toyota 2000GT were built to accommodate the burley 6’ 2” of Sean Connery as James Bond in the film “You only live twice” back in 1967. Apparently they still exist today.
Mark Wilkinson, Managing Director Says:
“The Toyota 2000GT was history in the making and the fact it didn’t sell well at the start shows it was ahead of its time. Today the first Japanese supercar has built a reputation through design innovation and technology and is now seen as a rare masterpiece built in Japan and was probably the first of many cars to show the world what they can do.”