Toyota makes some good looking vehicles but it’s hard to imagine them ever releasing something as beautifully designed as the 2000GT. It was their first sports car, long before the Supra or the Lexus-branded LFA. Sadly, the company only made 351 of them with 62 left-hand-drive versions making it into the United States.
Toyota can’t take too much credit for the 2000GT; it was originally created by Yamaha. Much of the design was done by German-American designer Albrecht Goertz, who was a protégé of legendary designer Raymond Loewy. Yamaha originally planned to sell the concept to Nissan, however that company turned them down. Yamaha then shopped the car around to other Japanese automakers before Toyota decided to buy the rights.
The engine is a two-liter Yamaha designed inline-six with dual overhead cams and three twin-choke side-draft carbs all making 150 horsepower. It is mated to a five-speed fully synchromesh manual transmission with overdrive. All four corners have independent suspension and disc brakes. It’s basically the perfect sports car.
The inside has a wood rim steering wheel, rosewood dashboard, and all the proper switches, levers, and round gauges. The only bad part about this car is that when it was made, Toyota wasn’t Toyota yet, and so they didn’t make seven million of them. As such, they are quite expensive, going at auction from time to time for many hundreds of thousands of dollars. One sold in 2013 for $1.15 million.
A beautiful red one can be yours at RM Sotheby’s Elkhart, Indiana auction in May. So, of course, I’m giving you a few months heads up to start digging through your couch cushions and mowing your neighbors’ lawns to save up the money to bid on this expertly restored example. With the rising value of cars and insane auction prices lately, it isn’t much of a stretch to think this one might be the most valuable Japanese automobile to be sold.
If I can scrounge up the money by then, I may buy it, swap in a modern Yamaha R1 engine, cut a hole in the hood for the intake, swap out all the outboard brakes and suspension for something more modern, and then get murdered by enthusiasts. Fortunately, it’s looking like I’ll be a little short on cash.