Automobiles of London

27 October 2010

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Lot 202

1967 Toyota 2000GT Targa

  • Chassis no. MF10-10125

Sold for £179,200


150 hp, 2,000 cc in-line six cylinder engine, aluminium DOHC two valve per cylinder Hemi head designed by Yamaha, three twin choke side-draft carburettors, five-speed fully synchromesh transmission with overdrive, four-wheel independent suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, four-wheel power-assisted Dunlop disc brakes.

This unique Toyota 2000GT Targa has lived two lives, very much in keeping with its origin as a one-off design presented to producer A.R. Broccoli for his 1967 James Bond thriller You Only Live Twice.

Toyota introduced the rakish two-seat 2000GT coupé at the 1965 Tokyo Auto Show, although it was a further two years before the design reached production. No more than 351 regular production examples were built by hand by Yamaha between 1967-1970.

The style of the 2000GT broke all conceptions of Japanese design when it was first seen, with a simplicity of form previously unknown in Toyota home market styling. When John Pride, Toyota’s then-Managing Director in the UK, drove a 2000GT in England, it immediately evoked comparisons with the Jaguar E-type, an automobile that clearly influenced both the layout and the styling of the 2000GT.

Like other revolutionary designs, proper credit for the 2000GT’s styling has been difficult to assign. Albrecht Goertz, associated with both the BMW 507 and the Datsun Z car, has often been credited with the styling. But the manufacturer gives credit to Satoru Nozaki, a young designer working in-house at Toyota.

The 2000GT was designed around Toyota’s 2.0-litre, straight-six M engine introduced in 1965. This engine became the basis for Toyota’s most prestigious family of engines for 30 years. The 3M engine in the 2000GT utilised the cast-iron block, replacing the single overhead camshaft head with a new dohc design created by Yamaha. With three Solex side-draft carburettors, the revised unit was good for 7,000 rpm and 150 hp in the 2000GT and drove the car to over 135 mph.

James Crowe, writing in Road & Track, described the 2000GT as “highly refined in handling and driving and one of the most exciting cars we have driven.” Luxury touches to the interior included a rosewood-veneer dashboard and signal seeking radio and were described as, “up to par for a luxurious GT – an impressive car in which to sit or ride, or simply admire.”

It should come as little surprise then that Broccoli, planning production of You Only Live Twice in Japan, contacted Toyota to provide two 2000GTs for the film. With no more than a month before production began, Toyota reportedly hesitated for nearly two weeks before embracing the potential value of placing James Bond in their newest supercar. Even then, it was determined that the limited head room in the coupé was a tight fit for the 6'2" Sean Connery playing Bond and would also make in-car filming difficult.

Toyota engineers created sketches of the automobile seen on these pages, a modified Targa design that would allow Connery easier access to the GT and improve filming. With only two weeks remaining, there was no time to construct the special Bond 2000GT Targa, however. Two stock 2000GT coupés were quickly cut down to cabriolets for movie production. Coincidentally, You Only Live Twice became the first Bond film in which 007 did not drive an automobile. Bond appears in the movie only as a passenger in the 2000GT cabriolet.

The Targa design remained un-built until 1984, when enthusiast Ed Pessin of Culver City, California commissioned Richard Billings of Los Angeles to create a one-of-a-kind example of the car utilising the original Toyota sketch.

A 2000GT coupé, one of 62 originally imported to the U.S., was acquired from marque specialists Maine Line Exotics of Biddeford, Maine. This automobile was sold new by Memphis Toyota of Memphis, Tennessee to William Henry Gidden, before passing to Jim Martin of Wylie, Texas from whom Maine Line acquired the 2000GT.

The conversion was expertly completed in 1984 at Weatherby Motor Car of Carson, California to the highest standards. The original roof feature – with its hint of Zagato’s famous “double bubble” – was retained as a removable Targa panel covered in black vinyl material. The panel stows in the rear hatch area, readily accessible in case of rain. Additional modifications to both ‘a-pillars’ and ‘b-pillars’ and removal of the rear quarter windows resulted in a car that performs flawlessly and without any hint of cowl shake.

A painted black Targa band reaches from the upper door moulding area across the roof, creating a dramatic contrast with the original Pegasus White factory colour of the body. The Toyota 2000GT emblems that are placed on the front fenders of production 2000GTs are relocated to the Targa band providing a distinctive finishing touch.

This very special Toyota 2000GT has been driven only 29,647 miles from new and carries its original, matching numbers engine as well as its original dash pad, headliner, door panels, instruments and rosewood dash, all of which are in near-showroom excellent condition. The automobile was returned to Maine Line Exotics in 2010, where the exterior was refinished in the original factory colour. At the same time, correct NOS carpeting was fitted throughout, and the original seats were recovered in the correct OEM material and pattern.

The automobile is also fitted with the original, factory Magnesium Alloy wheels with knock-off chrome spinners, stainless steel dual exhausts, AM signal seeking radio with retractable power antenna, dual factory rally clocks and an ultra-rare period-correct dealer installed Nippondenso air conditioning system.

The 2000GT’s 150 hp propels this 2,470-lb early supercar to a top speed of 137 mph and required a dash-mounted cautionary decal asking the driver to limit speeds to 69 mph in 2nd gear and 97 mph in 3rd prior to shifting. The sellers can attest that these shift points were recently attained! This one-of-a-kind 2000GT designed for James Bond has been featured in the standard reference book for the 2000GT and is road ready for daily enjoyment or long distance grand touring.

DOCUMENTS:
US Title

Addendum

Please note that should this vehicle remain in the UK, HMRC has verbally confirmed that this vehicle is eligible for the reduced Import Tax Rate of just of 5% collected on the full purchase price of the 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

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... 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