The 2000GT was a massive breakthrough for and from Japan, and it changed the way the world viewed Japanese cars. Before the Toyota 2000GT, the only “sports cars” that came out of Japan, were almost Kei, with engines smaller than a liter, if not 660cc.

Before WWII, most cars in Japan were built by foreign companies. After WWII, in betwixt the sanctions and a deflated economy, most foreign carmakers had wound up shop. So Japanese carmakers had to step into the fray, but for years, all they made were affordable economy cars. The designs were mostly rip-offs from older cars selling on foreign shores.

When the Toyota 2000GT was unveiled at the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show, it took the world by surprise. This car set a precedent for Japanese sports cars. Many cars topped its performance later, but what you need to remember about the Toyota 2000GT, is that it kickstarted it all.

10 Only Partly Inspired By The Jag

1968 Toyota Sports 800 Sports Car
Via: BringaTrailer

Many feel that the Toyota 2000GT comes inspired by the Jaguar E-Type, and you have to admit, the coke-bottle styling does look similar enough to give you pause. But to be honest, the Toyota 2000GT has its precedents in a previous Toyota sports car.

1965 Toyota Sports 800 Sports Car With Roof Panel Removed
Via: Wikimedia Commons Mytho88

The styling is based a lot on Toyota’s first sports car, the Sports 800, which may have jetted only a minuscule 44 horses but looked adorably stylish. You can see the curves reflecting the same design, with a European tang to it.

Related: What Toyota's First Sports Car Did Before The Porsche 911 Targa

9 There’s A German Design Behind The Japanese Reliability

1967 Toyota 2000GT Sports Car In Bellatrix Yellow
Via: Mecum

Much like the Jag E-Type, the Toyota 2000GT has also been called one of the most beautiful cars ever made, and it certainly is the most stunning car from Toyota. The styling does not belong to one man but is shared between many including German-American penman Albrecht Goertz who also worked with Nissan to create the Silvia.

1967 Toyota 2000GT Sports Car In Yellow
Via: Mecum

Toyota’s in-house designer Satoru Nozaki was also credited with the design, but it was Shoichi Saito who headed up the project and turned it into the greatest car in the world.

Related: These Are The Most Important Cars In Toyota's History

8 The 2000GT Carried Insane Power Under The Hood

1967 Toyota 2000GT 2.0-liter Inline-Six Engine
Via: Mecum

The 2000GT was named after the 2.0-liter inline-six engine that is borrowed from the Toyota Crown but tuned to make far more horsepower. The actual work on the engine was done by Yamaha and the new twin Cam head worked to make 150 horses.

1967 Toyota 2000GT 2.0-liter Inline-Six
Via: BringaTrailer

Since the 2000GT only weighed 2400 pounds the 150 horses were enough for the top speed of 135 MPH. At the time the fastest car in 1965 could only do 165 MPH so the 2000 GT was a credible supercar. Brake power came with four-wheel disc brakes a first for a Japanese car.

7 Toyota Name But Yamaha Tuning

1967 Toyota 2000GT: Japan’s First-Ever Supercar
Via: Mecum

The 2000GT may have come from the house of Toyota, but the car was made by Yamaha under contract. Yamaha offered the car to Nissan, but they passed up on the opportunity because they were already developing the Nissan FairLady Z. So Yamaha went to Toyota who accepted the 2000 GT with alacrity.

1967 Toyota 2000GT Sports Car In Red
Via: Mecum

With a 0-to-60 MPH sprint of 8.6 seconds, the 2000GT was Japan’s first-ever supercar and the credit goes as much to Yamaha as it does to Toyota.

6 A Limited Production Run For A Rare Classic

1967 Toyota 2000GT Sports Car In Solar Red Paint
Via: BringaTrailer

The 2000GT was not only an exceptional car it was also a rare one considering production lasted only three years. At the time it cost more than a Porsche 911 and even a Jaguar E type, although it’s valued as a classic car it’s certainly a return on investment.

1970 Toyota 2000GT Sports Car In White
Via: BringaTrailer

A total of 351 Toyota 2000 GT S were made and 150 were shipped outside of Japan. It’s not certain as to how many survive today but any that crossed the auction block sell for hundreds and thousands of dollars.

5 Daniel Craig’s Favorite Bond Car

Sean Connery With The Iconic Toyota 2000GT In The Movie 'You Only Live Twice'
Via: ToyotaUKMagazine

The popularity of the 2000GT was such that it was even featured in a James Bond movie with Sean Connery driving it in the 1967 flick You Only Live Twice. This was a far cry from the Aston Martins and the Lotus cars often seen in Bond movies.

Sean Connery In Toyota 2000GT In The 1967 Bond Movie 'You Only Live Twice'
Via: IMCDb

When the current James Bond Daniel Craig was asked to name what he thought was the best Bond car of all time, he named the Toyota 2000GT. Considering these classics can cost $1 million a pop, you have to either be James Bond or play James Bond to be able to afford them.

Related: Here Are The Craziest Cars Toyota Ever Produced

4 Heard of The Toyota-Shelby 2000GT?

1968 Carroll Shelby-tuned Toyota 2000GT Race Car
Via: YouTube

There is a special kind of Toyota 2000GT that sold for $2.5 million add a Florida collector car auction. This particular Toyota 2000GT is the rarest of rare because it came tuned by none other than Carroll Shelby.

The Extremely-Rare 1968 Toyota Shelby 2000GT Race Car
Via: YouTube

Shelby made many changes to make the 2000 GT viable for racing with the first thing being the engine horsepower output being raised to 210. A roll cage for safety and better shock absorbers went in and in the 1968 racing season, Shelby’s Toyota 2000GT’s finished fourth behind Porsche and Triumph. This car bore chassis number MF10-10001, the very first off the line.

3 Expensive, Rare, And Very Exclusive

1967 Toyota 2000GT Sports Car In Red
Via: BringaTrailer

Despite the warm welcome that the 2000 GT received, Toyota had a fairly conservative sales approach with only 351 units being built from 1965 to 1970. Two-thirds of these units stayed in Japan while the rest for exported and only 62 units were built with a left-hand drive.

1967 Toyota 2000GT Sports Car
Via: YouTube

One of these 62 units sold for $1.2 million holding the record for the most expensive Asian car ever sold at an auction. The price was not conservative though, with the $7,000 base price making the 2000GT more expensive than a Porsche or Jag at the time.

Related: Cool Facts No One Knows About Toyota's Sports Cars

1967 Toyota 2000GT Sports Car's RHD Interior
Via: BringaTrailer

Despite the definite promise of the car and its branding as one of the most expensive cars of its time, the Toyota 2000GT was not as popular as its European competitors. One of the reasons of course was it nobody expected that a supercar could come out of Japan at least not in the 60s.

US-Spec 1967 Toyota 2000GT Sports Car's LHD Interior
Via: BringaTrailer

With affordable cars like the Mustang and other muscle cars from Detroit, the Toyota 2000GT was not exotic enough to justify the high price, and also it lacked a bit in the power department. Toyota’s limited production run also stopped sales. Since Toyota was losing money on each 2000GT it was not a viable model.

1 Only A Single Open-Top 2000GT Was Ever Made

Only One Open-Top Toyota 2000GT Was Ever Made
Via: Toyota

If all you have seen after Toyota 2000GT is Sean Connery driving it with the wind in his hair, you have it wrong. When it was unveiled at the Tokyo motor show in October 1965 it caught the eye of Bond producer Albert R ‘Cubby’ Broccoli.

Only A Single Open-Top Toyota 2000GT Was Ever Made
Via: Toyota

Such was the popularity of the “zero-zero” Bond in Japan that Toyota was happy for their 2000GT to be used as a Bond car and specially made two coupes for the movie. Everywhere else the Toyota 2000GT was a hardtop that could offer thrilling speeds but not ruffle your hair.

Sources: TopSpeed, CNN

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