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Toyota 2000GT

           

    

The original and perhaps still most ambitious Japanese sports grand tourer, the Toyota 2000GT presaged the Datsun 240Z and Mazda RX-7 as revolutionary all-world Japanese sports cars and, had Toyota done more with the car, likely would have been as legendary and successful as the other two.

Instead, the 2000GT is an incredibly rare, extremely collectible car--a lovely and refined precursor to the following decades of more utilitarian Japanese technological innovation, a sort of Asian Jaguar E-Type. Unlike most cars mentioned in the same sentence as the E-Type, the 2000GT's hardware--a powerful DOHC straight six engine, disc brakes, and a top speed rumored to be in the 135-mph range--made it a worthy analogue.

Years ago, I came across a 1966 issue of Car Life that featured a road test of the 2000GT (concluding that it was a stunningly good car), and I've wanted one ever since. The James Bond movies have made many a car famous (I'm convinced Aston Martin owes much of its fame to the Bond movies); the 2000GT is one of the rare Japanese cars 007 deigned to pilot. Bond drove an even more rare 2000GT convertible in You Only Live Twice.

Given that most remaining examples go for more than $100,000 nowadays, even if one could obtain a 2000GT, it wouldn't make much sense to actually drive it. Given its competence as a sports car, that's a pity.

These photos come from a Japanese-language site; I can't read the text, but it has lots of great 2000GT photos.

- Chris H.

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As I remember reading somewhere, the convertible was so that Sean Connery could fit in the car. I think it was actually a custom job; I don't remember ever reading about Toyota making a 2000GT convertible.

I remember reading an article on the 2000 GT and wondering "why the hell was the car not imported to the USA? Or if it was imported, why was it sold in such limited numbers? It'd make a lovely predecessor to the Celica/Celica Supra sports car. I don't care if it's right-hand drive or not. I'd buy one for myself.

I have an origional work shop manual for this car

If Jason Carro ever looks at this again, I would say the reason this car wasn't a volume seller was because it was very expensive to produce. I'm not even sure that Toyota built it. They may well have contracted production out to Yamaha. Anyway, it wasn't a money maker for them even at a price that put it directly up against the top of the Porsche 911 range of the day. Similar money would also buy whatever sort of Corvette you wanted, be it a solid lifter racing car or a luxury lined GT. For this you got a beatifully styled 2 liter coupe that specced out like a miniature E-type Jaguar for miniature drivers. Nice, but there was never going to be any volume in it. Might as well ask why Honda didn't sell 50,000 NSXs a year as Preludes.

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