Art of the Automobile

21 November 2013

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Lot 135

1967 Toyota 2000GT

  • Chassis no. MF10-10093

Sold for $968,000


  • The perfect balance of aerodynamic efficiency and aesthetic excellence
  • The first true Japanese supercar
  • One of only 54 U.S.-delivery examples
  • Largely original, unrestored, and beautifully preserved


Little did the attendees know at the time, but the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show would signal a significant shift in the automotive world. Certainly the most desirable sports cars in the world were “Western.” Italy’s Ferrari 275, Britain’s E-Type, Germany’s Porsche 911, and the American Chevrolet Corvette all satisfied a youthful urge in the automotive market for sprightly and beautifully designed sports cars. Japan, however, had never produced a car that could pluck at the heartstrings of enthusiasts…that is, until the 2000GT made its grand debut.



In comparison to what preceded it, and to its contemporary competition, the 2000GT was almost otherworldly. Here was an automobile that could compete with the world’s most sophisticated sports cars, not only in terms of performance, but also in design. Yamaha, which at the time was heavily involved in motorcycle production, produced the car’s underpinnings. Toyota saw this as an opportunity to shake their reputation of producing rather conservatively designed cars. The 2000GT project would show the world that Toyota could design and construct a car that was both evocative and exciting, and that they could reach a design equilibrium that perfectly balanced aerodynamic efficiency and aesthetic excellence.



In an article written by a Toyota designer in the 1967 fall issue of Automobile Quarterly, it is evident that much thought was given to the overall design language of the 2000GT.



As for the interior design, the Toyota designer believed that the interior should be as much about comfort as it is 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.”



While the interior was well appointed with wood trim—sourced from Yamaha’s own piano division—and leather, it featured nothing more than what is necessary for a driver to enjoy the car as a grand tourer. Owners could easily acquaint themselves with their surroundings, and nothing essential to driver control or passenger comfort was ever too far out of reach.



Even though its engine was based on the inline six in the second generation Toyota Crown Sedan, the 2000GT would prove to be the most exciting car in the Toyota model range. The engine produced 150 horsepower, and the vehicle had a curb weight of just 2,400 pounds. This allowed it to achieve a favorable 49/51 weight distribution, which made it quite light on its feet and a joy to drive on a winding mountain road. Motor Trend lauded it as “one of the most exciting and enjoyable cars we’ve driven.”



Adding to the desirability of the 2000GT is its rarity. Only 351 examples left the factory by the time production concluded in 1970, and just 15% of those were imported to the United States. Priced at over $7,000 in 1967, the 2000GT was $1,000 more than both the E-Type and 911, and over $2,500 more than a Corvette. According to this car’s original purchase invoice and window sticker, the 2000GT is a 1967 model that was delivered new to Len Sheridan Toyota in Santa Monica, California. It was purchased for $7,240 by a Robert Vandergrift, who resided in Brentwood, California. For the past decade, the car has resided in a very well-respected Southern California collection.



Offered today in highly original condition, this spectacular 2000GT continues to show extremely well. The car has never been subject to a restoration of any kind; although, it was repainted once in its original color of Solar Red. The engine and drivetrain remain 100 percent original and in fully functioning condition, and they have never be disassembled or removed from the car. The interior is also highly original; it displays a few signs of wear, but it has always been well maintained. The car comes with a plethora of original documentation, including the original warranty card, purchase invoice, registration, window sticker, service booklet, and owners’ manual.



Indeed, this is unquestionably one of the finest 2000GTs in existence, as it exemplifies Toyota’s intent in its purest and most original form. It is, without exaggeration, the perfect sports car, and, as Ron Wakefield wrote for Motor Trend in 1967, “the pictures just don’t do it justice.”

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more