Cars / Cars and Bikes

The Most Unlikely Car from Japan

Outlined by its jarring Bellatrix yellow, this 2000GT arguably the most significant modern Japanese car that collectors will seek for its desirable and valuable quality in which the Japanese automobile has ever produced

Dec 09, 2017 | By Andrea Sim

1967 Toyota 2000GT: Offered without Reserve

Think Yamaha in terms of automotive, the motorcycles will sound vaguely familiar for some of us. But the 2000GT’s story first came about when Yamaha decided to gear towards producing sports car instead, after so many years of expanding its line-up of motorcycles. Clearly, for a company who had never sold such an automobile considered this move to be a gamble indeed.

It had been very challenging for Yamaha at first; they marketed the design to a couple of car brands, who ended up not taking on the project. But Toyota saw an opportunity within an opportunity – it was said that “The tiny little sports car was an opportunity to shed its reputation of producing rather conservatively designed automobiles.”

Going on sales at 2018 RM Sotheby’s Arizona

This coupe seats two and under the bonnet features a two-litre inline six-cylinder engine with a cast iron block and double overhead cams, for 150 hp at 7,000 rpm and a top speed of over 135 mph.

“Highly refined in handling and driving and one of the most exciting cars we have driven” –  James Crowe, writing of the car in Road & Track

The interior shows the rosewood veneer fitted to the dashboard and a signal-seeking radio, were described by Crowe as “up to par for a luxurious GT—an impressive car in which to sit or ride, or simply admire.”

The 2000GT is said to be akin to a “Japanese E-Type”, a car that “could run against the best that Europe had to offer and, frankly, win, and it has been credited with establishing the Toyota name as a force to be reckoned with in the automotive world.”

The car features a left-hand-drive and one of six 2000GTs painted in Bellatrix Yellow, as documented in Shin Yoshikawa’s well-received book on the model.

“First shipped to the U.S., it was sold in 1983 by Bill Young to well-known Toyota dealer and 2000GT collector, Craig Zinn, who had it restored and enjoyed it as his everyday driver for several years,”according to the source. Zinn acquired it in 2003 and commissioned “a fresh, show-quality restoration of the 2000GT by Steve Classen, in which it was returned to the original colour scheme.”

The car had the engine, suspension and electric brake overhauled as well as a new custom-fabricated cooling system before the current owner acquired it in 2008. It’s been more than a decade now since the 2000GT remained in the owner’s private car collection.

But this January, the 1967 Toyota 2000GT will be offered without reserve from RM Sotheby’s Private Collection this coming January 2018, in Arizona. This 2000GT will go on sale for $600,000 to $700,000.

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