This explicit Toyota was, in actual fact, rarer than uncommon. It was a Toyota 2000GT, a mannequin produced from 1967 to 1971. Solely 351 have been ever constructed. Nevertheless it’s greater than only a Toyota. It additionally has one other title hooked up to it, making it the 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000GT. Astute observers of automotive historical past could bear in mind the title “Shelby” within the type of world-renowned racing driver and producer Carroll Shelby.
The Toyota-Shelby 2000GT was produced in 1966 and is technically a pre-production mannequin. Its chassis quantity was MF10-10001, which implies it was the primary 2000GT to get a serial quantity as nicely.
Initially, it was painted pink and used as an indication automotive in the USA, permitting Toyota to point out the product to potential American prospects. After a while, it was given to Shelby together with two different 2000GTs to transform them into aggressive racing automobiles. For advertising functions the plan was to provide the 2000GT some actual racetrack pedigree.
Which is why, whereas different Toyota 2000GTs can value over $1 million, making them probably the most helpful Japanese automobiles on the earth, it was priced 3 times as a lot. This value makes this automobile essentially the most helpful Japanese automotive ever offered at public sale. It was offered at Gooding & Firm’s Amelia Island Collector Automotive Public sale. The ultimate sale value features a charge of roughly 10% paid to the public sale firm.
By the late Sixties, Toyota was greatest often known as a supplier of low cost transportation from Japan to these desirous to take an opportunity on a automotive. To alter that picture, Toyota launched its designer Satoru Nozaki with the 2000GT, a sports activities automotive that regarded extra like a Ferrari than the Toyota Crown or Corona, Toyota automobiles have been recognized for. these days.
It was not Toyota’s first sports activities automotive. The beloved 44-horsepower Sports activities 800 got here out only some years in the past. However the 2000GT was on a completely totally different degree. With a beginning value of simply over $7,000, equal to about $60,000 in the present day, the 2000GT value greater than a Porsche 911 or Jaguar XKE on the time. This was greater than another Toyota mannequin.
For the cash, consumers obtained actual efficiency. The 2000GT’s six-cylinder engine, which was constructed with assist from Yamaha, may put out as much as 150 horsepower and take the automotive from zero to 60 mph in 10 seconds. Its acceleration may have simply been beat by a contemporary household driver like a Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV, however the 2000GT’s velocity was respectable, if not stunning in its time.
One of many causes the 2000GT could not have been as common within the Sixties as Toyota had hoped—in keeping with Gooding, the corporate had deliberate to make 1,000 per yr—was that it wasn’t fairly its personal. As European rivals more and more, stated John Wiley, collector automotive worth analyst at Haggerty Automotive Intelligence. Nonetheless, it was the primary really “world-class” Japanese sports activities automotive, he stated.
In line with Gooding, the one actual drawback was value. Toyota was dropping an excessive amount of cash on every one to proceed manufacturing.
Toyota declined to touch upon the explanations behind its long-ago determination to cease making the automotive. Ben Hsu, creator of the e book “Basic Japanese Efficiency Vehicles,” cited each manufacturing prices and a scarcity of demand. Toyota had come a good distance when it comes to value and status when prospects have been unwilling to depart.
“Once you get to that degree, persons are shopping for for standing, and badges matter,” he stated.
In line with Hsu’s e book, the inside of the 2000GT was completed in the identical wooden used for the Yamaha Grand Piano. With its wood rim and three slender spokes, the 2000GT’s steering wheel regarded prefer it belonged to an costly Italian or British sports activities automotive. A Toyota 2000GT was additionally featured within the James Bond movie, 1967’s “You Solely Reside Twice”. The automotive in that movie was a roofless “convertible” model as a result of Sean Connery, the actor who performed Bond, was in any other case too tall to slot in it. (The 2000GT was by no means made as a convertible as a manufacturing automotive.) The James Bond connection additionally added to the automotive’s collectible worth, Wiley stated.
Shelby made a number of modifications to make the 2000GT prepared for racing. Amongst different issues, the rosewood dashboard was changed with texture-painted steel, and Adjustable KONI shock absorbers have been added, as was a roll bar for security. The horsepower output of the engine was elevated to 210. He had painted the automotive white and vibrant blue. This explicit automotive was utilized by Shelby as a growth mannequin and stored as an non-compulsory in case one of many different two was not in a position to race. In line with Gooding, by the tip of the 1968 racing season, Shelby’s Toyotas completed fourth of their racing collection behind automobiles from Porsche and Triumph.
One of many different Toyota-Shelby 2000GTs is on the Toyota Vehicle Museum in Japan, nevertheless it has been repainted and not appears prefer it, in keeping with Gooding. The opposite is in a non-public automotive assortment someplace in the USA.
The one different Japanese automotive with costs near the Toyota 2000GT is the very new Lexus LFA, a automotive that may be thought-about a contemporary equal. An unique automotive produced by Toyota’s luxurious division from 2010 to 2012, the LFA additionally featured an engine inbuilt collaboration with Yamaha, on this case a V10. Solely 500 have been made with costs beginning at $375,000. With the 2000GT, Toyota had a tough time promoting all of them throughout its manufacturing run, HSU stated, however costs went up after manufacturing ended.
A very uncommon Nürburgring model LFA, named after the well-known German race monitor, offered at public sale final August for $1.6 million.