1967 Toyota 2000GT
- One of 62 left-hand-drive examples sold new in the U.S.
- Known history with only three private owners
- One of the finest examples available
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, developed the car’s underpinnings. Toyota saw this as an opportunity to shake their reputation for 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.
While the 2000GT’s 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 pass. 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 percent 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.
CHASSIS NUMBER MF10-10088
The car offered here is one of the 62 original left-hand-drive examples delivered new to the United States. It was first delivered to Don Placke Toyota of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the early U.S. Toyota dealers in major cities to whom these cars were often sent. The car remained in new car inventory and on MSO at Placke Toyota for a remarkable five years before a dealership trade placed it in the hands of Bill Spencer, dealer principal of another Toyota salesroom, Competition Sports Cars in Lawrence, Kansas.
Mr. Spencer sold the dealership a year later and at the same time became the first registered owner of chassis number MF10-10088, which he and his wife, Harriet, would treasure for decades. Mrs. Spencer became the next owner of the car at her husband’s passing in 2001 and, six years later, commissioned a full refurbishing by Maine Line Exotics of Biddeford, Maine, one of the foremost 2000GT specialists in the U.S. Shortly thereafter, it was sold to another prominent collector, in the Pacific Northwest, with whom it remained until the current owner's acquisition—making him just its third private owner.
The car is widely considered among the most authentic and correct 2000GTs on American shores. In previous ownership, Maine Line Exotics rebuilt the car’s engine and suspension and installed a new, correct exhaust system in stainless steel. Weber carburetors were installed under the hood, with the correct Solex units being retained and offered with the car today. The cosmetics were also attended to, with fresh paint and chrome, and the interior was fully and properly replaced, including the leather and carpeting, which are fresh and beautiful; the rosewood veneer dashboard shows some wear but should, as it is the original made in 1967! The wheels have the correct graphite finish as well, and the engine bay has been beautifully detailed. At the time of cataloguing, the car showed 46,859 miles, indicative of careful use by its handful of respectful owners. It is accompanied by a selection of original manuals, catalogues, and brochures.
This is an excellent 2000GT that benefits, as few have, from superb provenance and quality care as evidenced by its pampered existence.