Drive Away 2Day

1969 Toyota 2000Gt : Classic Cars

If you covered the nameplate, you'd have no idea it was a Toyota. Funny thing is that in a way it's not. Inspired by an American designer from Germany, intended to compete with Italian exotics, and built by Yamaha, the 2000GT is a rare anomoly of the 1960s Japanese automobile industry.

Designer Albrecht Goertz (who also designed one of the most beautiful cars ever, the BMW 507) approached Yamaha and Nissan with a concept for a two seat sports car that would help shed the conservative image Japanese cars had in the 1960s. Nissan declined the project, instead developing the 240Z (how did that work out?) but Yamaha was sufficiently intrigued to forward the project to Toyota.

Toyota took the idea, using an in-house designer instead to work up their own prototype. Many of the asthetic design elements were lifted from the decidedly non-sporty Toyota Sports 800. Particularly, the front driving lamps and lack of any visible bumper are noticeable:

The 2000GT made its public debut in 1965, but didn't go into production until 1967. Although no convertible versions were ever factory produced, a couple were in fact made to appear in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Yes, there was a Toyota in a James Bond movie:

On a side note, the car I've always compared the 2000GT to was the Opel GT, coincidentally also shown as a prototype in 1965. I mention this because Japanese companies were frequently accused of being derivative or copying the designs from other automakers. It seems interesting that they would start with a German-American designer, and end up with a car that looked similar to one built by a German-American manufacturer:

Anyway, Yamaha built the car under contract for Toyota, and this shared contruction was not uncommon for Yamaha at the time. They selected the 2.0L engine (3M) from the Toyota Crown sedan, which was capable of 150 HP and 135 MPH. Of the 351 cars built, nine "MF-12" models were specially made with a larger 2.3L (2M) version of this motor.

So, why didn't the Toyota 2000GT join many of the other iconic 60's sports cars? For starters, the car was made in very limited production, from 1967 to 1970. Of the 337 ever made, only 60 ever reached North America. When production concluded, what should come along in December of 1970 but the brand new Toyota Celica, which later evolved into the Supra. How about this 1974 Celica GT Coupe:

You might say the 2000 GT was the father of the Celica and grandfather to the Supra, both sporty cars produced in much greater numbers at more affordable costs, leading to the next point - the 2000GT wasn't very cost effective. From the showroom, the ultra-rare 2000GT would cost you about $6,800. For comparison, a new 1967 Mustang would cost closer to $2,700. Yowza. One of these cars was listed on eBay Motors of all places in 2011 for a cool $650,000! Fortunately, Forza won't be charging us quite as much

Price: 80,000cr
Class: F 191
HP: 150
Torque (ftlbs): 130
Weight (lbs): 2,550
Distribution: 51%
Displacement: 2.0 L
Drive: RWD
Speed: 3.9
Handling: 4.1
Acceleration: 4.6
Launch: 5.0
Braking: 4.0
Gears: 5

Turn 10 decided we'll get the smaller 3M engine, which is packing 2L and 150 HP. When compared to other cars of the era, that's downright puny, but in the realm of F class that's actually not too bad. We'll need to think of the 2000GT compared to other cars in its class, rather than cars from its timeframe. Most sports cars from the mid to late 1960s would stomp a mudhole into this Toyota.

The stock acceleration is okay, but as soon as you get into E class it's quickly outmatched. The handling appears on the low side, but the nearly 50% balance is useful in this low class. Speaking of balance, I think the total weight of this car is what plays into its favor the most. Once you put some good shoes onto this one, it really starts to grip quite well, and will provide a very good short track car in lower classes. For my effort, I've moved this into D class for exactly that purpose. I've listed my upgrades and stats below. I'll have this car temporarily in the team garage as well

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Sources : 1969 Toyota 2000GT Photo | 1969 Toyota 2000GT Article


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