Iconic, stunning Toyota 2000GT sells for over $1,300,000

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Words: Matthew Hansen
29 Oct 2020

There are many Toyota models that can claim to be iconic, from the Hilux, to the Corolla, to the Land Cruiser. But it’s a certain kind of iconic, representing more of a reputation for reliability and longevity than of raw emotion. But, Toyota does have one old-school sports car that manages to fulfil the latter.

Back in 1967, Toyota debuted a drop dead gorgeous sports car called the 2000GT — its answer to the sporting halo cars most of its rivals in Japan had issued during the decade. Built with the aid of Yamaha, a brand that Toyota continues to collaborate with today, the 2000GT was an instant classic.

The 2000GT used a 2.0-litre inline six sourced from the Crown, but massaged by Yamaha who added double overhead camshafts. It produced 150hp, could hit 217km/h, and was available with either a five-speed stick or a three-speed auto. Toyota eventually took the model racing, with some success.

Inside, buyers could opt for luxury trims like walnut or rosewood panelling; each sourced from Yamaha’s piano production division. This is a process still performed today on various Lexus models, and at the time helped the 2000GT earn a slot against cars like the Jaguar E-Type as a bonafide luxury coupe.

Its cameo in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice didn’t harm this reputation either. The car in the film was famously a one-off convertible, made specifically to accommodate the rather tall Sean Connery.

Prices of Toyota 2000GTs have always been strong, even before today’s age of Japanese vehicular nostalgia hitting a huge peak. But, this particular pictured example represents one of the priciest examples in the world. Listed for auction with RM Sotheby’s Elkhart Collection event, the pristine Solar Red 2000GT sold for US$912,500 ($1,372,500).

What made this example especially rare was its left-hand drive designation. Only 62 of the 351 2000GTs produced were left-hand drive, with this representing the 100th edition to roll out of the factory.

It features a famous name in its history too, having been purchased new by American race driver Otto Linton — formerly the last surviving driver from America’s first post-WWII road race at Watkins Glen in 1948 until his passing in 2018.

“Officially recognized as one of the ‘Legends of the Glen,’ Mr. Litton had recently acquired a Toyota dealership in Pennsylvania. He apparently considered this 2000GT one of his favorite automobiles, reflected by the fact that he held on to the car for over 30 years before passing it in 1998 to Rich Jacobsen of Scranton, another Quaker State Toyota dealer. It would be part of the Jacobsen Collection for six years,” said RM Sotheby’s.

While it’s a high price for a 2000GT, it’s not a record. Back in 2013, a yellow example sold in the United States for almost US1.2million, making it the world’s most expensive Japanese car at the time. And more recently a white example sold in its homeland for ¥88million.

 

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