Million-dollar Toyota 2000GT barn find undergoes Aussie restoration

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Words: Matthew Hansen
13 Nov 2020

Most of the incredible barn finds that are located these days concern cars that went through a phase of being undesirable and unwanted, before becoming classics later on in life. Think about the heap of re-discovered rotting Aussie muscle car wrecks as a good example.

You’d think therefore that there would be little to no chance of a car as rare and forever desirable as a Toyota 2000GT being located as a barn find. But, you’d be wrong. And this one is close to home, too.

A 1967 2000GT was recently discovered in Sydney, buried at the back of a shed for around 40 years. Phil McCarroll, of McCarroll’s Dealer Group, was friends with the former owner and spent a healthy portion of time trying to convince him to sell.

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“It belonged to an old school friend. He put it into his garage in 1981 and left it there. Gradually it was covered in rubbish,” he told Trade Unique Cars.

“I re-established contact with him at a school reunion in 2004. I’d moved around the country as a dealer, from Cooma, to Mudgee to Sydney and you lose contact with your pals. He mentioned in conversation one day that he had a couple of cars in the garage and I almost fell off my chair when he said he had a 2000GT.”

It’s understood that Australia only got nine 2000GTs in the first place, with eight of them accounted for as having been sold back overseas — leaving this as the country’s lone survivor. If you can call it that, anyway. “We’ve searched but haven’t heard of any others in the country,” McCarroll added. “Only nine came to Australia and it seems the majority went back overseas.”

McCarroll describes the 2000GT’s condition as “horrible”. “We do a lot of classic cars here and this is the furthest away from what was presented by the factory. The chassis was modified, the engine was wrong, the gearbox was wrong, rear trailing arms modified, chassis cut open.”

Yes, it doesn’t feature its original Yamaha-built 2.0-litre straight six. Instead, this 2000GT has had two different engine transplants over time. The first of these was a Leyland V8, and more recently it’s been fitted with a Rover. In a twist of irony, it’s also been given the rear end from a Jaguar E-Type … its British brother from another mother.

Restoration of the incredible classic has already commenced, with the help of Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia. Body and frame have been separated, with the former acid dipped and the latter shown to be full of rust. Along with official support from Toyota’s performance arm, the project is also being helped along by Maine Line Exotics — the number one name in Toyota 2000GT restoration in the US.

Once the restoration is complete, the svelte supercar should command a pretty penny. A superb low kilometre example recently sold in the US for over $1.3million.

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