Finally Taken Seriously: The Japanese Nostalgic Hero
For too long, vehicles produced in Japan, The Land Of The Rising Sun, were typically viewed as cheap reliable transportation for the masses, but not much else. This narrow-minded viewpoint imposed the idea that all Japanese cars were disposable appliances with no real “soul”—a misguided notion. Sure, I’ll mock a Camry for being a “refrigerator on wheels,” but I know better than to claim all vehicles from the country are econoboxes best recycled after a few hundred thousand miles of abuse. If you don’t believe there are Japanese nostalgic autos capable of increasing your heart rate, you’re simply ill-informed.
It’s 2016 and for the most part, petrolheads acknowledge the desirability and collectability select classic Japanese autos carry. Decades of love have seen the Datsun 510 and 240z, Toyota AE86 and FJ, ‘Hakosuka’ and ‘Kenmeri’ Skylines, and Honda S-series roadsters becoming sought after shakotan that have been restored, restomodded, and raced to Honshu and back. However, the popularity of old Japanese automobiles in the U.S. has been a rather small band of enthusiasts for decades—it wasn’t until the early 2000s when a broader interest took off and Japanese classics started appreciating…at a startling rate.
But none have climbed the value ladder faster and higher than the Toyota 2000 GT—the Far East’s first “supercar”.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising, considering that only 350 some-odd examples were made, but the stunning 1967 Toyota 2000 GT you see here is estimated to demand more than three-quarters of a million dollars. In 2013, one of 62 left-hand-drive models sold for over a million. A Toyota sold for more than a million dollars? Strange times, indeed.
Why should that surprise us? It shouldn’t: because it’s been a long time coming. It was inevitable. Common ignorance towards an entire nation’s automotive buffet couldn’t have lasted forever. Enthusiasts were bound to collectively realize, “Wait, these are good… no, these are great automobiles”.
With the global eye opening, we’re experiencing a bit of hyperinflation in the Japanese nostalgic car market, along with seemingly all other vintage autos. This beautiful Solar Red right-hand-drive 2000 GT is at the top of the Japanese market, as it should be. The 2000 GT’s athletic proportions made an impression on Nissan’s CEO, “Mr. K,” which heavily influenced his very own sportscar—the beloved Datsun 240Z. The Toyota was even worthy of the Hollywood spotlight. In 1967, 007’s Tokyo partner, Aki, drove a custom 2000 GT convertible in You Only Live Twice—the only Japanese “Bond car” to date.
It isn’t just the progressive design either; the 2000 GT is an engineering masterpiece. It weighs a feathery sub-2,500 pounds, sports a DOHC straight-six rated at 125 horsepower, and has independent suspension at all four. The aluminum Coke bottle-shaped body features flip-up headlights, Plexiglass driving lamp covers, slim bumpers, and bullet-shaped wing mirrors. Thanks to its low center of gravity and clever packaging, the roof is less than 47 inches tall!
This particular car was one of two 2000 GT originally sold in Mozambique, Africa. The car exchanged ownership a few times before being purchased by the Costa Rica importer, Javier Quiros. Peter Starr and Robert Tkacik of Maine Line Exotics then bought the tired GT. Fortunately, Mr. Quiros had valuable Toyota connections and used the company’s archives to assist Peter and Robert’s restoration. The team completely dismantled chassis MF10-10128, with Quiros ensuring every detail of the reconstruction was as close to factory spec as possible.
After 4,000 plus man-hours, the restoration was completed in May 2014. The car is claimed to be one of the finest 2000 GT examples on earth—and if the photos are anything to go by, it certainly appears to hold true.
– One of two originally sold in Mozambique, Africa
– Meticulous OE-spec restoration thoroughly documented
~125 horsepower dual-overhead cam straight-six engine, aluminum body construction, and fully independent suspension.
Chassis no.: MF10-10128