Australian Hot Rod: Battered 1967 Toyota 2000GT

It’s well known by now that the Toyota 2000GT is one of the foremost collector cars on the marketplace, and has been for years. Built-in exceedingly limited numbers in collaboration with Yamaha, it was a watershed moment when Toyota revealed that it could build a legitimate sports car that could compete on the international stage with the likes of the Porsche 911. With that sort of legacy, most all of them are sitting in private collections or in museums – except for one discovered in Australia, where it was left in the back of a garage, hacked up and butchered beyond belief. Find the whole story here on the Trade Unique Cars website.

Now, I realize “butchered” may seem like a strong word here, but consider how rarely these 2000GTs pop up in project form and it makes sense why we might refer to it as such. They were immediately desirable, and almost instantly a cult classic with its prominent role in the James Bond film, You Only Live Twice. At the time, Japan was largely known for building compact fuel-sipping economy cars, and the 2000GT was a shot across the bow at essentially every automaker that considered Toyota a runabout, and the country of Japan a non-player in the grand stage of automobile manufacturing. The Lexus LFA was a fitting tribute to this car, as it proved once again what Toyota was capable of building.

Now, given most of these clear a million dollars when they do appear at major automobile auctions, it’s mind-boggling to see a non-standard engine under the hood. The restoration firm that is overseeing its revival notes the original engine and transmission were swapped out for a Rover V8 mated to a Leyland P76 transmission and a Jaguar rear end out of an E-Type. In addition, the chassis was cut open, the floors are rusty, and the rear trailing arms modified. Not only that, this is the second non-standard engine its bay has held, with another British V8 swapped in before this one. No word on the whereabouts of the original engine, but Facebook chatter indicted suspicion it was still hiding somewhere in the country.

The interior still looks splendid despite its years of neglect, and the wood dash reminds us of the lengths Toyota went to create a performance car like none other. It was exotic, handsome, and striking, with a powerplant that left no questions at Japan’s capabilities when the country’s engineers let their hair down. The owner of the 2000GT notes they have found a correct engine block for the car and are working with U.S.-based classic car specialist Maine Line Exotics, which has restored several 2000GTs, including multiple auction stars. Restoring significant vehicles is never inexpensive, but it always seems to be worth it.

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Comments

  1. Bigcat Member

    I don’t know that these trade that high, more like $750. In any event it’s going to take a ship load of cash to make this one right and then it may not be #’s matching without another Barn Find of the engine & running gear. Right hand drive makes it less desirable in US and other markets. Might be more valuable as a donor for another more worthy restoration.

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      RHD makes it less desirable in US and other markets? What about Japan, it’s country of origin, with a strong domestic car culture. Last time I checked their market was RHD.

      As for it being a parts car, that’s funny.

      Steve R

      Like 25
      • Bill McCoskey

        Many Americans [And Canadians] don’t know that there are more RHD vehicles made every year than LHD versions. It seems that everywhere the British set up camp, the country was RHD. Up thru WW2, that was a large number of countries.

        Like 1
      • UK Paul 🇬🇧

        RHD is the right side.

      • jokacz

        Since 65% of the world’s population drives on the right side of the road (LHD) I find it hard to believe that more RHD cars are made than LHD.

    • Eric B

      $750 for what?

      Like 1
      • Bigcat Member

        Prices have ranged from $500,000 to a high of $1,200,000, so my comment of selling for $750,000is a rough average. The $1.2 million car was record.

        Like 4
    • 370zpp

      Uh, simply no.

      • Bigcat Member

        OK, what’s you plan for this car?

    • Roy william Stauffer

      These are very high dollar sellers
      If your even lucky to see one you’ll be amazed at its construction i have only seen one in person and its owned by the owner of a Toyota dealership he bought it in 67
      He won’t even consider selling it sits roped off in his show room

      Like 1
    • m dranak

      I think you will find that the cars were only ever made right and drive , So to keep with being original only right hand drive will do!

      • Bigcat Member

        Nope, 62 were sold in NA, left hand drive, scarce but they’re out there. I’ve seen 2 in person. As a Toyota Lexus lover, my dream car

        Like 1
  2. alphasud Member

    I think is should be restored with the current drivetrain. That’s the cars history and should wear it with honor. They can’t all be original and back in the day it was just another car. It’s too rare to sacrifice its life to build another and quite extraordinary that another one was found. The Toyota dealer up the street had one in mint condition in their showroom. They were one of the first import dealers that came into the area. My old boss who owned a Fiat and Lotus dealer was approached by both Datsun and Toyota to franchise their cars. He chose to stick with Fiat and as they say the rest is history.

    Like 13
    • scott m

      Love the idea of running it with it’s current history- spec an original motor, or even the original (!) and display it alongside- but this car has a history that it has lived- honor that!

  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    About 1975,I sopped by the Toyota dealer in Concord,CA.
    There was a 2000GT off to the side.I was immediately drawn to
    it,& was sitting in it,when a salesman came by.
    He told me I could have it for $5000.Problem was,I didn’t
    have $5000.

    Like 21
    • Mr.BZ

      I lived there at that time (grew up in Pleasant Hill) and sure wish I had the luck to see one of these. Might have driven right by and not noticed it.

      Like 1
    • Fran

      One I saw a 70 boss 429 for 10k. I didn’t have that much money either. You know what? I had 5K in cash so I got a 5K LOAN and I owned a 70 Boss 429 no rust numbers matching beautiful low mileage car! I guess my question to everyone who says they did not have the money. Really?

      Like 2
    • Jon

      And in 1971 I could have bought a Ferrari GTO for $5,000 from the guy down the alley in Chicago – who knew …

      Like 5
    • Fred Alexander

      Yet another missed opportunity eh??

    • Roy Stauffer

      5k would be million today a fully restored one went for over 1.5 mil out of CT couple of years ago
      The one I seen is at Ardmore Toyota all original could use new glass as tge windshield is showing separation but good buff tge paint will come back really good

    • UK Paul 🇬🇧

      I think we have all probably been there and sometimes it doesn’t make sense to get into debt to buy a car. Common sense needs to rule over heart.
      Two I had to pass we’re an Aston Martin V8 and back up Bond film Lotus Turbo. Both around $10k (each) in the 90’s.

      Like 1
      • ken tilly UK

        My story was that I was offered an Aston Martin DB 6 for £3000 back in about 2008 but I didn’t buy it because it had been fitted with a Jaguar 4,2L engine. The original engine, that came with the sale, had caught fire and damaged the aluminium parts. Hindsight is a 20/20 wonderful thing.

        Like 2
    • Kai

      Wow, I live in Concord CA now. I wonder if its still local or if it was scrapped.

  4. mike b

    Dime a dozen Porsches in much worse condition get the full restoration. This makes way more sense. Tops my list of post-war, historic, sports cars I’ll never own, just above the Muira & E Type.

    Like 13
  5. Eric B

    Poor yota. Good to know he’s in good hands and will be back on the road as one of the coolest cars ever.

    Like 7
  6. Mr.BZ

    I know Toyota gets the majority of the credit, but I thought it was primarily designed AND built by Yamaha. I’ve read other articles that didn’t even mention Yamaha, so i appreciate Jeff’s nod here.

    Like 6
  7. Pat

    Must have been the Australian version of a sbc

    Like 3
  8. AMCFAN

    It is very unusual to see these in ANY condition.

    Like 9
  9. jerry z

    Having built only 63 of these cars (according to the website), I can’t imagine trying to find parts! Hope they have good luck on the restoration.

    Like 4
  10. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    What a find. A proper car.

    Like 9
  11. JimmyJ

    Put a 2jz in it and make it a real supercar.
    What a score no motor means do what you want. It’s still a 2000gt

    Like 4
  12. jokacz

    Since it’s already screwed up, chop off the roof and make a roadster out of it. You know, like they do with 275GTB’s to make fake NART spyders.

    Like 2
  13. Russ Ashley

    Waiting for someone to say put an LS in it. From the looks of the garage it’s in, the original engine could be in there somewhere under a pile of junk. If those cars are that valuable and rare it would be nice if the parts could be located so it could be restored, but it’s doubtful now.

    Like 5
  14. ken tilly UK

    The Managing Director/CEO of Toyota South Africa gave one to his wife when new and as far as I know the family still own it, although by now it might be in the Franschoek Motor Museum just outside Cape Town.

    Like 1
  15. ken tilly UK

    Just checked the museum but they don’t give the whole list of vehicles they have for showing but I do know that it is over 200. If you Google Franschoek Motor Museum the Home page shows a 1903 Ford A on the left hand side front. This actual car was the FIRST Ford ever exported from USA as it was bought by a South African visitor to the New York Motor Show of 1903. I tried to buy it on an auction back in 1977 but couldn’t bid more than my limit of R13,000 (£600 in today’s money) however it went RNM.

    Like 2
  16. Michael L Gregory

    I’ll never forget seeing a white one in a parking lot near Venice Beach, CA in 1977. I immediately recognized it since I was a huge James Bond movie fan.

  17. Buddy Ruff

    Thirteen-year-old me fell in love with this car at Expo 67 in Montreal. I’ll never forget it.

    Like 2
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      I KNEW that I had seen one in person, but was unable to figure out where. That had to be it. The family went to the Expo. I have been back to the location once, for a GP in the early 80’s. Ile Notre-Dame, St. Helen’s Island…

  18. adam anderson

    I was lucky to view this car being restored last week.
    The chassis and body have been seperated.
    The chassis is being restored back to take the original running gear which had been butchered to fit the Rover motor and jaguar rear.
    The body is very rusty and is being rebuilt with hand made panels.
    The tradesmen are doing an amazing job.

    Like 1
    • ken tilly UK

      Glad to hear that Adam. Too few of these magic cars have been lost already so it’s great to know that this one is coming back to originality.

      Like 1

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