Toyota 2000 GT
150 bhp, 2,000 cc Yamaha aluminum DOHC hemi-head inline six-cylinder engine, triple Solex twin-choke side-draft carburetors, five-speed fully synchromesh manual transmission with overdrive, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel power-assisted Dunlop disc brakes. Wheelbase: 91.7 in.
- Beautifully restored to original specifications
- One of just two 2000GTs delivered new to Mozambique
- “Toyota’s E-Type,” the greatest Japanese car of all time
The mid-1960s was a great time to be in the market for a two-seater sports coupe. There were a number of fantastic cars available for purchase at either end of the market. From the small and affordable MGB GT Hatchback to Ford’s new Mustang to the incredible Ferrari 275 GTB, America, Germany, Italy, and Great Britain all had multiple models at different price points to enter into the fray. At the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show, Japan introduced its first entry into this heated competition, the 2000GT.
This vehicle was originally convened by Yamaha, who was known at that time for producing motorcycles, and then it was marketed to Nissan as a world-beating sports car, but they decided not to take on the project. Yamaha pitched the car next to Toyota, which immediately saw the sports car as an opportunity to shed its reputation of producing rather conservatively designed automobiles. Many thought this to be a costly gamble for the company, but Toyota believed that the potential benefits would outweigh the costs, as it would allow the firm to compete with much more established and renowned companies.
The 2000GT was powered by an inline six-cylinder engine that was based on the one found in the Toyota Crown but was adopted by Yamaha with new double overhead camshafts. It could produce 150 horsepower, to move 2,400 pounds of car, which, along with its 49/51 weight distribution, resulted in an automobile that was light on its feet and handled like a dream. James Crowe, who tested the car for Road & Track magazine, praised it as being “highly refined in handling and driving, and one of the most exciting cars we have ever driven…an impressive car in which to sit or ride, or simply admire.”
In an article written by a Toyota designer in the fall 1967 issue of Automobile Quarterly, it is evident that much thought was given to the overall design language of the 2000GT. Many believed that the most striking aspect of the car was its exterior design. The long bonnet and short rear deck echoed Jaguar’s E-Type Coupe, yet it was distinctively Japanese at the same time.
As for the interior design, the Toyota designer believed that the interior should be as much about comfort as it was about fashion. “As a Grand Touring car, it should have the equipment and layout to respond to a high degree of driving skill. Unlike the usual concept of a sports car, which presupposes a certain amount of discomfort and austerity, it should possess an air of comfort and affluence. It should be the kind of car in which its owner can enjoy a leisurely drive in town or a fast zip through the countryside.”
By the time production had come to an end in 1970, only 351 examples had left the factory, far fewer than its main competitors. The 2000GT was priced at over $7,000 in 1967 and was considered by many to be an expensive proposition for a car they had never heard of. This was $1,000 more expensive than both the Jaguar E-Type and the Porsche 911 and over $2,500 more expensive than a Chevrolet Corvette, the car’s main competitors. For many buyers, especially in the United States, it was hard to justify spending that much money on a sports car that had an unproven reputation.