This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $225,988 at Christie’s auction in Le Mans, France, July 8, 2006.
While devotees of the Honda NSX continue to explain how and why their car should be taken seriously as a “real” supercar, Toyota 2000GTs owners need make no such excuses.
The 2000GT has it all-great looks penned by one of the most talented auto designers, a sophisticated powerplant and chassis, prowess on the track, a starring role in a James Bond movie (“You Only Live Twice”), and rarity matching the most exclusive Italian sports cars.
It’s ironic that the 2000GT was originally conceived for Nissan, which of course went on to produce the 240Z and stayed in the sports car market in a way that Toyota didn’t. But neither manufacturer would likely have continued production or developed the car in any meaningful way. It simply wasn’t part of the overall growth strategy for Japanese companies in that period. In that way, it can be compared to another famous Goertz project, the BMW 507. That too was a neat car, but had nothing to do with BMW’s ultimate success.
It’s really hard to think of these cars as Toyotas in a real sense, as they were designed, developed, and built by Yamaha. That was their downfall, as Toyota’s management felt it necessary to move the 2000GT from contract hand-building to in-house assembly line construction. When they asked U.S. dealers if they could sell 1,000 cars a month at twice the retail price of anything else in their showrooms, the response was overwhelmingly negative. Unable to make the economic case for boutique production, Toyota killed the project.
Nevertheless, the cars they made are sensational. Their looks equal their most pedigreed European competition, with a compact, svelte aluminum body. Build quality is outstanding, and the cars are more usable than many sports cars, with excellent space utilization for two small people and their luggage. Small is the operative word-one of the reasons that two convertibles were made for the James Bond movie was that Sean Connery couldn’t squeeze his 6-foot 2-inch frame behind the wheel.
Performance is outstanding-a real 130-mph car, with terrific torque and a 5-speed gearbox. Today they make superb vintage rally cars, with abundant mid-range power, a stable yet supple suspension and power disc brakes.
Sixty-two 2000GTs were imported into the U.S., and it is thought that 40 remain in existence. In spite of their rarity, they are well supported by an American dealer in Maine-Maine Line Exotics (www.mainelineexotics.com)-which has been active in 2000GT circles for many years.
In evaluating one of these cars, begin with the condition of the glass. Unavailable as spares, the windshield and rear window are outrageously expensive to source. In addition, the non-structural but double-skinned rockers should be examined to make sure that the jacking plates are connected to the subsill and the rocker. They are omitted sometimes in “restoration,” making it difficult to raise the car without damaging the suspension.
The wheels are magnesium and subject to corrosion and pitting. Ironically, wheels are the only part of the car to be reproduced, but unfortunately the aluminum replacements tend to be out-of-round. Mechanically 2000GTs are robust and once properly set up should present no problems.
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT was sold at the October 2000 Brooks sale in Hershey, Pennsylvania for $151,000 (SCM# 10511). The sale was judged then to be “heavy money.” However, the market has been moving upward, and truly collectible cars like this one have done well. I would say that the current sale price of $226k is at the least market correct, and perhaps a small bargain.
Evaluated six years ago as being in very clean #1 condition, the odometer showed 45,281 kilometers. At the time of this latest sale it has 76,326 kilometers on the clock, indicating it has been driven over 30,000 kilometers since 2000 and is still an attractive #2 car. It’s a testament to the driving pleasure this rare Asian landmark offers, and I hope the new owner flogs it in the way its makers intended for many miles to come.