Toyota 2000GT – An Unexpected Sports Car

I remember when the Toyota 2000GT was unveiled in 1966.  It was quite a shock to me.  I remember thinking that can’t be a Toyota!  In North America Toyota had a short history and that history was made up of econo-boxes.  The Toyota 2000GT was completely different, sports car – not very Toyota-like.  It turned out that I was partially right.  Toyota didn’t build the 2000GT, actually Yamaha did the building of the car under contract to Toyota.  Of course, at that time, I wouldn’t have believed that it was a Yamaha either.

Toyota 2000GT 1967 (6)

Toyota 2000GT

I recently attended the 2013 Lime Rock Historic Festival and I had the surprising pleasure of seeing a Toyota 2000GT.  These cars are quite rare, especially here in the USA.  Toyota only built 337 of these cars from 1966 to 1968 and of that total only 53 were imported into the USA.

Toyota 2000GT 1967 (1)

The Toyota 2000GT Had Concealed Headlights As A Major Styling Feature

The 2000GT was powered by a 1,998cc inline six-cylinder, dual overhead camshaft engine.  In addition, this engine had three Solex side-draft carburetors.  This engine was also designed and built by Yamaha.  In the stock form the engine put out 150 horsepower.  There also was a 200 horsepower competition version of this engine which had a higher compression, different camshafts, and a few other modifications.

Toyota 2000GT 1967 (3)

The Toyota 2000GT Has A Low Profile

The Toyota 2000GT sits lower than I had expected.  Perhaps it is just modifications that were made for this particular car for racing purposes, but this car’s height was noticeably low.

Toyota 2000GT 1967 (4)

The Blending Of The Rear Signal Lights Into The Fenders Is Interesting

In its stock condition the Toyota 2000GT was not an astonishingly fast car, but it was no slouch either.  The reported 0 to 60 miles per hour time was 10.1 seconds and it could do the quarter-mile in 15.9 seconds.

Toyota 2000GT 1967 (2)

Right-Hand Drives Suggests That This Particular Toyota 2000GT Was Not Initially Built For The USA Market

The essentials of the car were quite good, as in addition to a reasonably powerful engine, it had disc brakes on all wheels and was provided with a five-speed manual transmission.  All of the wheels have independent suspension.  This car was built with high performance in mind.

Toyota 2000GT 1967 (5)

The Toyota 2000GT Was Not A Commercial Success Despite All Of Its Features

I believe that many of the people who would have been potential buyers of the Toyota 2000GT in 1966 to 1968 just were not ready to buy a Japanese sports car.  The idea of a Japanese built sports car had not yet been accepted.  But it did pave the way in the USA for the first truly successful Japanese sports car, the Datsun 240Z.

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