1968

Image credits: © Toyota.

1967 Toyota 2000 GT

The world first saw the Toyota 2000 GT at the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show. Production began two years later and continued in limited numbers until 1970. This vehicle was very important for the Toyota Motor Company because it proved to the world that they could produce sports cars and not just economical and practical vehicles.

Raymond Loewy of Yamaha was responsible for the design. The product was originally intended for Nissan but the company decided not to implement the design. The design was proposed to Toyota who accepted the design. The vehicle is visually similar to the Jaguar E-Type. Light was provided by driving lamps and pop-up lights. To protect the exposed driving lamps, a Plexiglas cover were installed. There were bumpers on the car though they provided little in the way of protection. The body is comprised of aluminum and located under the hood was a potent six-cylinder engine in 2 or 2.3 liter size.

During its short production lifespan only 337 were produced. The final versions featured air-conditioning and some were given an additional scoop located underneath the grille which helped provided air to the AC unit.


by Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2006

Vehicle Profiles

1967 Toyota 2000 GT vehicle information

Coupe
Designer: Raymond Loewy

Chassis Num: MF10-10088

To say it's difficult to conceive of a Ferrari-like Toyota is too often stated. It is easy to think of the automobile manufacturer as the maker of fine, but relatively sedate production cars. There have been glimpses of another side of the company, h....[continue reading]

1967 Toyota 2000 GT vehicle information

Coupe
Designer: Raymond Loewy

Chassis Num: P-112
Engine Num: 10157

The Toyota 2000GT was a sports car produced in very limited numbers by Toyota in Japan. First seen at the Tokyo Motor Show of 1965, production vehicles were built between 1967 and 1970. It revolutionized the automotive world's view of Japan. Revie....[continue reading]

1967 Toyota 2000 GT vehicle information

Coupe
Designer: Raymond Loewy

Chassis Num: 10006

After the Ford racing contracts ended, Carroll Shelby took on a contract from Toyota to develop their 2000GT sports car. ....[continue reading]

1967 Toyota 2000 GT vehicle information

Coupe
Designer: Raymond Loewy

Chassis Num: 10005

In 1967, Toyota entered into an agreement with Shelby American Racing, Inc. to develop the 2000 GT for SCCA Production competition. The terms of the deal were simple : The manufacturer was to ship three cars (chassis number 10001, 10005, and 10006) ....[continue reading]

1967 Toyota 2000 GT vehicle information

Coupe
Designer: Raymond Loewy

Chassis Num: MF10-10097

In the 1960s Toyota wanted to build a world class car because the Japanese auto industry wanted to expand worldwide. Based on SCCA demands the 1967 model had many performance features not needed on a car designed for the street.....[continue reading]

1967 Toyota 2000 GT vehicle information

Coupe
Designer: Raymond Loewy

Chassis Num: MF10-10128
Engine Num: 10189

When production of the 2000 GT came to an end in 1970, just 351 examples had been built. They were priced at $7,000 in 1967 and was considered by many to be an expensive proposition for a largely unheard of car. It was over $2,500 more than the Corve....[continue reading]

1967 Toyota 2000 GT vehicle information

Coupe
Designer: Raymond Loewy

Chassis Num: MF10 10193

This Toyota 2000 GT was imported to Switzerland in January 1969 by Emil Frey Ag, the official Toyota importer. It was subsequently delivered to 'Garage des Nations' in Geneva on the 30th of January and remained there until August of 1971 when it was ....[continue reading]

1967 Toyota 2000 GT vehicle information

Coupe
Designer: Raymond Loewy

Chassis Num: MF10-10083
Engine Num: 3M 10109

Today, Toyota is known for its quality of engineering and the longevity of its products, but not necessarily for any earth-shattering performance. However, on the track, Toyota has a fierce reputation and it must not be forgotten the supercar in Japa....[continue reading]

1967 Toyota 2000 GT vehicle information

Coupe
Designer: Raymond Loewy

Chassis Num: MF10-10110

In the 1960s, Saturo Nozaki designed a sports car for Toyota, and soon, Yamaha and Toyota joined forces to develop and build Nozaki's design. It was planned as a low-volume, high-image car and drew inspiration from Jaguar's E-Type. The new car, dubbe....[continue reading]

1967 Toyota 2000 GT vehicle information

Coupe
Designer: Raymond Loewy

Chassis Num: MF1010100

Just 62 examples of the Toyota 2000GT were sold in the United States between 1967 and 1970. This particular example sold new to Sebring and Watkins Glen veteran Otto Linton. For several decades it was part of the Jacobson Collection and in succeeding....[continue reading]

1967 Toyota 2000 GT vehicle information

Coupe
Designer: Raymond Loewy

Acquired by the current owner in 1977 and presented in all original condition with the exception of one repaint in the original Pegasus White. From 1967 through 1970, Toyota produced 351 examples all hand built by Yamaha Motor Co. This is 1 of 62 lef....[continue reading]

1967 Toyota 2000 GT vehicle information

Coupe
Designer: Raymond Loewy

In 1965, when this car was introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show, Japan was known as a maker of inexpensive economy cars. Imagine the shock to both the public and the motoring press when the 2000GT was introduced. Yamaha completed the initial design for....[continue reading]

Coupe
Chassis #: MF10-10088 
Coupe
Chassis #: P-112 
Coupe
Chassis #: 10006 
Coupe
Chassis #: 10005 
Coupe
Chassis #: MF10-10097 
Coupe
Chassis #: MF10-10128 
Coupe
Chassis #: MF10 10193 
Coupe
Chassis #: MF10-10083 
Coupe
Chassis #: MF10-10110 
Coupe
Chassis #: MF1010100 
Coupe
 
Coupe
 

History

Thrilling automotive admirers, collectors and historians for over 40 years, the Toyota 2000GT was Japan's original exclusive sports car. Created in a joint collaboration by Toyota and Yamaha, this exceptional and exotic GT is still appreciated today for not only its beauty and performance but also its historic significance. Japans first supercar, the 2000GT was a limited-production, rear-wheel drive, front-engine, 2-seat hardtop coupe grand tourer. Stunning its audience, the car was first debuted to the public at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1965 though it took another 2 years before it went on sale. In Japan, the 2000GT was exclusive to Toyota's Japanese retail sales channel dubbed Toyota Store. The price topped $6,800, over $1,000 more than the target E-Type.

Revolutionizing the automotive world's view of Japan, the 2000GT helped to change the current opinion that Japan was known only for cheaper, quality-lacking vehicles. Known for building family cars, or economy sedans models after French and English version, up until this point the Japanese were not known for their sports or GT cars. The arrival of the GT proved that Japanese auto manufacturers could in fact produce a sports car that was capable of rivaling similar European models.

Compared favorably to the Porsche 911, a pre-production 2000GT in 1967, Road & Track magazine reviewed the vehicle as 'one of the most excited and enjoyable cars we've driven'. With such positive publicity the Toyota 2000GT was well on its way to being the first serious collectible Japanese cars and the original 'Japanese supercar'. Today these models have sold at auction for as much as $375,000.

Much of the credit for the Toyota 2000GT goes to Albrecht Goertz, a freelance German-American designer who was a protégé of Raymond Loewy. Credited with designing the BMW 507, he had traveled to Yamaha in Japan in the early 1960's to create a two-seater sports car for Nissan. Though a prototype was constructed, Nissan chose not to pursue the project, possibly because its cost and sophistication were too high for the production and marketing plans they were making. Yamaha also worked for Toyota but at the time was considered the most conservative of the Japanese car manufacturers. Toyota accepted the proposal in an attempt to improve their image, but chose to go with a design from their own designer Satoru Nozaki.

Vividly eye catching and with a design that is widely considered to be a classic the 200GT featured smoothly flowing bodywork finished in aluminum. Pop-up headlights fronted the supercar and large plexi-glass covered driving lamps framed either side of the grille in the same fashion as on the Toyota Sports 800. Barely any bumpers at all though, unfortunately the plexi-glass driving lamp covers were easily damaged. Drastically low, the Japanese supercar measured just 45.7 inches to the tallest point of the roof. The 2000GT had a slight hint of the Jaguar E-type along with being very technologically advanced. It had a 2,329-mm wheelbase and a length of 4,176 mm.
The front of the vehicle was updated slightly in 1969, making the driving lamps smaller and changing the shape of the turn signals. The rear turn signals were also updated and made slightly larger along with some modernizations on the inside of the sports car. Some models were fitted with air conditioning and featured automatic transmission as an option. These models also had an additional scoop fitted underneath the grille, which supplied air to the A/C unit. The inside of the supercar did feature comfortable, though cramped space with luxury features that included a rosewood-veneer dashboard and an auto-seeking radio tuner. Road & Track felt that the interior of the 2000GT was up to the standard for a 'luxurious GT' stating that it was an impressive car 'in which to sit or ride - or simply admire.'

Based on the engine in the top-of-the-line-Toyota Crown sedan, the engine in the GT was a 2.0 L (121 in³) straight-6 (the 3M). This engine was completely transformed by Yamaha and featured all-new double overhead camshaft heads into a 112 kW (150 hp) sports car engine. Carburetion was completed through three two-barrel Solex 40 PHH units. Special MF-12 models, nine, were constructed with the larger but SOHC 2.3 L 2M engine. The vehicle was offered with three different final drives. Getting 31 mpg, the car was fitted with a 4.375 ratio axle and was rumored to be capable of reaching 135 mph.

Driving the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission the engine in the GT was longitudinally mounted. In a first for a Japanese vehicle, all-round power-assisted disc brakes were fitted, and also a limited slip differential. The emergency brake gripped the rear disc directly.

With figures that were comparable to first-class Italian supercar production of the time, only 351 regular production models of the 2000GT were built. The breakdown was 233 MF10's, 109 MF10Ls, and nine MF12Ls according to Yamaha and Toyota data. All vehicles were constructed by Yamaha, and it took two years for production vehicles to emerge.

The Toyota 2000GT was sold for around $6,800 in the U.S., a much higher price tag than contemporary Jaguars and Porsches. Despite their hefty cost it was believed that no profit was made on the cars since they were more concept cars, a demonstration of ability rather than a true production car. Most 2000GTs were painted either red or white, and around 60 models reached North America. Other models were estimated to have spread thinly worldwide in much the same manner.

Coming in third in the '66 Japanese Grand Prix the Toyota 2000GT also won the Fuji 24-Hour Race in 1967. The vehicle also set numerous FIA world records for endurance and speed in a 72-hour test. The record car was unfortunately destroyed in a pace car accident and was eventually discarded. This prompted Porsche to soon prepare a 911R especially to beat this record.

Competing in the CP category, Carroll Shelby would also enter a pair of 2000GTs to compete in the SCCA production car races. Originally he built three cars, including one spare. Though they performed well, 1968 was the only season the car competed in the U.S. Toyota took back one of the vehicles and rebuilt it into a replica of their record car which today still remains in Japan. The two remaining Shelby cars still reside in the United States.

Making its most famous screen appearance in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice, two custom open-top 2000GT models were built. A factory-produced convertible was never offered during the car's production run. Most of the movie was filmed in Japan. The cars built for the film didn't have roofs, merely an upholstered hump at the rear of the cabin to simulate a fold top and because of this they were not ever fully functioning convertibles.

Before they decided to make fully roofless cars, building the car as a targa was first tried, allegedly due to Sean Connery's height which didn't allow him to fit into the ultra-low coupe version. This eliminated the rear side windows but retained the hatchback of the original vehicle. Unfortunately when the Targa was completed, Connery's head stuck out of the top so much that it was deemed too ridiculous looking and roofless version would have to be constructed if the car was to be featured in the film. The vehicle was mainly driven by his girlfriend; Akiko Wakabayashi in the film anyways. 45 years later, the Toyota 2000GT has become a true icon and now an integral part of the history of James Bond.

Though not as well known as the Nissan Z to the general public like later Japanese sports cars, many collectors esteem the 2000GT as quite possibly the first highly collective Japanese car. Well-preserved models can reach high auction prices, though parts availability can be a problem.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_2000GT
http://www.topspeed.com/cars/toyota/1967-1970-toyota-2000-gt-ar10869.html
http://www.motortrend.com/classic/c12_0509_classic_coupe_comparison/viewall.html
http://www.kaiartintl.com/toyota_2000gt_book
http://blog.toyota.eu/2012/10/25/you-only-live-twice-james-bond%E2%80%99s-toyota-2000gt-convertible/

By Jessica Donaldson
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