Back in the late 1960s, Toyota put together one of the most beautiful motor vehicles veer penned by human hands. It was low, sleek, with its long hood hiding a Yamaha-developed two-liter inline-six. But what’s a gorgeous performance car without a racing program? What’s a racing team in the late ‘60s without Carroll Shelby? Toyota, it seems, thought all these questions out, and those pieces all came together for a Toyota-backed, Shelby-developed 2000GT race team.
Toyota gave Shelby three 2000GTs to run in the 1968 SCCA season, two of which placed third and fourth place for the season behind a pair of Porsche 911s. Toyota ended the program after that first year, but the cars lived on — including this one, the first ever 2000GT produced, which just raked in over $2.5 million at auction.
The previous record for Most Expensive Japanese Car Ever Sold was a very different Toyota — the first ever 2020 Supra, which was auctioned at Barrett-Jackson for charity. With this 2000GT only pulling a mere $435,000 more, it almost looks like a deal. The Supra may have an incredible exhaust note, but does it have racing heritage and the classic Shelby colors?
Usually, when cars go for absurd amounts of money, I’m here to gripe about high prices making things inaccessible to most enthusiasts. But if any car is truly worth $2.535 million, it’s likely this bad boy with its laundry list of accomplishments: first-ever 2000GT, first Toyota to compete in SCCA, first deal between Carroll Shelby and a Japanese automaker. Add all that history to one of the best-looking cars ever formed from metal, and the price starts to seem a bit more reasonable. It may only be a matter of time until another Japanese car eclipses this one in sale price, but for now its place in the record books is rightly earned.