A Toyota offered at a Florida collector automotive public sale Friday for $2.5 million. As you may guess, this was not your normal Rav4 Hybrid. (Sure, automotive costs have gone up rather a lot, however not that a lot.)
This explicit Toyota was, genuinely, the rarest of the uncommon. It was a Toyota 2000GT, a mannequin produced from 1967 to 1971. Solely 351 had been ever made. However this one is greater than only a Toyota. It has one other title connected as properly, making it a 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000GT. Astute observers of automotive historical past may bear in mind the title “Shelby” as that of the world-famous racing driver and producer Carroll Shelby.
The Toyota-Shelby 2000GT was inbuilt 1966 and is, technically, a pre-production mannequin. It had chassis quantity MF10-10001, which means it was the very first 2000GT to even get a serial quantity.
Initially, it was painted crimson and was used as an illustration automotive in the US, permitting Toyota to indicate off the product to potential American prospects. After some time, it, together with two different 2000GTs, was given to Shelby so he may flip them into aggressive racing vehicles. The plan was to present the 2000GT some actual racetrack pedigree for advertising functions.
This historical past is why, whereas different Toyota 2000GTs might be price over $1 million, making them among the many world’s most precious Japanese vehicles, this was price 3 times extra. This value makes this car essentially the most beneficial Japanese automotive ever offered at public sale. It was offered at Gooding & Co.’s Amelia Island collector automotive public sale. The ultimate promoting value features a roughly 10% payment paid to the public sale firm.
By the late Sixties, Toyota was often known as a supplier of low cost transportation for these prepared to take an opportunity on a automotive from Japan. Wanting to vary that picture, Toyota had its designer Satoru Nozaki give you the 2000GT, a sports activities automotive that regarded way more like a Ferrari than a Toyota Crown or Corona, vehicles Toyota was identified for on the time.
It wasn’t Toyota’s first sports activities automotive. The lovable 44-horsepower Sports activities 800 got here out simply a few years earlier than. However the 2000GT was on a wholly totally different stage. With a beginning value over $7,000, the equal of about $60,000 at the moment, the 2000GT value greater than a Porsche 911 or Jaguar XKE on the time. It was way over some other Toyota mannequin.
For the cash, patrons bought actual efficiency. The 2000GT’s six-cylinder engine, created with help from Yamaha, may put out as a lot as 150 horsepower and take the automotive from zero to 60 miles an hour in 10 seconds. Its acceleration may simply be crushed by a contemporary household hauler, like a Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV, however the 2000GT’s pace was respectable, if not wonderful, in its time.
One of many causes the 2000GT could not have been as common in again within the Sixties as Toyota had hoped – the corporate had deliberate to make as many as 1,000 a 12 months, in line with Gooding – was that it simply wasn’t fairly as quick as its European rivals, stated John Wiley, a collector automotive worth analyst with Hagerty Automotive Intelligence. Nonetheless, it was the primary actually “world class” Japanese sports activities automotive, he stated.
The true downside was merely the associated fee, although, in line with Gooding. Toyota was shedding an excessive amount of cash on each for manufacturing to proceed.
Toyota declined to touch upon the explanations behind the way back determination to cease making the automotive. Ben Hsu, writer of the e book “Basic Japanese Efficiency Automobiles,” cited each manufacturing value and the shortage of demand. Toyota had reached farther, in value and status, than prospects had been prepared to go.
“While you get to that stage, individuals are shopping for for standing, and the badge issues,” he stated.
The 2000GT’s inside was completed in the identical wooden used for Yamaha grand pianos, in accordance Hsu’s e book. With its picket rim and three skinny spokes, the 2000GT’s steering wheel regarded prefer it belonged in an costly Italian or British sports activities automotive. A Toyota 2000GT was even featured in a James Bond film, 1967’s “You Solely Reside Twice.” The automotive in that film was a roofless “convertible” model as a result of Sean Connery, the actor who performed Bond, was too tall to slot in it in any other case. (The 2000GT was by no means made in convertible type as a manufacturing automotive.) That James Bond connection has additionally added to the automotive’s collectible worth, stated Wiley.
Shelby made quite a few adjustments to organize the 2000GT for racing. Amongst different issues, the rosewood dashboard was changed with texture-painted metallic, and adjustable KONI shock absorbers had been added, as was a roll bar for security. The engine’s horsepower output was elevated to 210. He additionally had the automotive repainted in white and a shiny blue. This explicit automotive was used as a improvement mannequin by Shelby and stored as an alternate in case one of many different two wasn’t in a position to race. By the tip of the 1968 racing season, Shelby’s Toyotas completed fourth of their racing sequence behind vehicles from Porsche and Triumph, in line with Gooding.
One of many different Toyota-Shelby 2000GTs is within the Toyota Vehicle Museum in Japan nevertheless it has been repainted and not seems to be like this one, in line with Gooding. The opposite is in a personal automotive assortment someplace in the US.
The one different Japanese automotive with values near the Toyota 2000GT is the a lot newer Lexus LFA, a automotive that might be thought-about a contemporary equal. An unique automotive produced by Toyota’s luxurious division from 2010 to 2012, the LFA additionally had an engine produced in collaboration with Yamaha, on this case a V10. Solely 500 had been made with costs beginning at $375,000. As with the 2000GT, Toyota had a tough time promoting all of them throughout their manufacturing run, stated Hsu, however costs rocketed up after the manufacturing run ended.
An particularly uncommon Nürburgring Version LFA, named after the famed German race monitor, offered at public sale final August for $1.6 million.