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.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Sotheby's in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in Histo... read more

Alex Classick

+ 44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

+1 310 559 4575
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

Annette Abaci

+49 (0) 40 441 95 737

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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California, United States

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

David Swig

+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 lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

+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

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher

+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a restoration shop as a teenag... read more

Max Girardo

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his ho... read more

Peter Wallman

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

+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

+31 653 84 19 60

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more