Rare and shapely, could this pristine ’68 Toyota 2000GT brush $1M?
More than five decades after production of the Toyota 2000GT ended, the short-lived Japanese sports car still stands tall. Figuratively speaking. It seems that whenever one comes to market, especially in left-hand-drive configuration, the buzz is palpable. Can you hear it?
Yes, there’s a 2000GT on bringatrailer.com—the same 1968 model featured on BaT eight years ago, when Symbolic Motors in La Jolla, California, offered the rare and shapely masterpiece for $995,000. This time around, bidding is up to $405,000 with 11 days remaining in the auction.
The 2000GT on BaT was imported to the U.S. in 2013 after spending time in a Japanese museum. Power is provided by a 150-horse, 2.0-liter DOHC inline-six with triple Mikuni-Solex carburetors, linked to an all-synchromesh five-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential. Additional equipment includes four-wheel independent suspension, servo-assisted disc brakes, 15-inch magnesium alloy wheels, signal-seeking radio, and a rally clock. The car comes with a tool kit, recent maintenance invoices, and a clean Montana title.
Spark plugs, distributor cap, and rotor were replaced in 2016; battery tender leads were also installed. The following year, the car’s ignition coil was replaced, and the timing and carburetors were adjusted by Fast Cars Ltd. of Redondo Beach, California.
The 2000GT was collaborative effort between Toyota and Yamaha, with each car assembled by hand at Yamaha’s Iwata factory. Depending on the source, between 337 and 357 cars were produced from February 1967 to October 1970, with 62 in left-hand drive configuration and designated for export.
Construction incorporated a steel X-shaped backbone-style chassis wrapped in aluminum bodywork that was styled by Toyota’s Satoru Nozaki. Design features include pop-up headlights, driving lamps faired behind Plexiglass covers, bullet-style fender mirrors, louvered panels flanking the hood, and a contoured roof that stands under 46 inches at its highest point.
When Road & Track tested the 2000GT in 1967, staffers were surprised by how low-slung it was. “We’ve seen many cars that we thought would look better if they were scaled down,” the review says. “(And) the 2000GT is one that is smaller than it looks in print.” Getting inside required some contortions, but “it was worth the trouble. Surrounded by impressive instrumentation, much padding, and all that beautiful rosewood, and sitting so low you know you’re in something special, you are sure it has to be good.”
The magazine went on to say: “When it comes to ride and handling, nobody in his right mind could need or want more in a road vehicle than the 2000GT has to offer … We were skeptical at first about driving across city dips at undiminished speeds in such a low car, but we soon found that we could traverse these and other severe irregularities with verve and comfort.”
Stepping back to look at the new sports car again, R&T added, “If the 2000 GT is an impressive car to drive, it’s an equally impressive one in which to sit or ride—or simply to admire.”
The worst thing the magazine managed to say was, “Storage space is limited … (so) travel light.” Even the car’s estimated sticker price of $6000 (just under $50K today) didn’t bring shock or disdain. (The eventual MRSP would rise to $7150—about $3000 more than the Chevrolet Corvette—which made the Toyota a tough sell in the U.S.)
Fifty-four years later, Road & Track’s review is still on point. “The Toyota 2000 GT is one of the most exciting and enjoyable cars we’ve driven,” the magazine concluded. “… If you have $6000-plus to spend and like a judicious blend of sport and refinement, the Toyota 2000GT will merit your serious consideration when it becomes available.”
One is available right now, but it’ll cost you a lot more than $6K. How much more? That’s difficult to predict.
“The 2000GT became the first Japanese car to be valued at $1M, back in the hot years of the mid-2010s, but it quickly fell back down to well under that,” says Hagerty’s senior auction editor, Andrew Newton. “Cars sold since then have typically brought somewhere in the $600,000–$900,000 range, depending on configuration and condition.”
With that said, “The last 2000GT offered on Bring a Trailer three years ago was a no-sale at $550,000, but the last 2000GT sold at a live auction last October went for $912,500.”
In other words, it all depends on how badly two people want it.