1967 Toyota 2000 GTSOLD
See all the Images for this Car
Engine Type: 2.0 Litre Inline 6-Cylinder
Color:Red / Black

Reference Number 374351

as of 8/29/2015

Overview
Car 1967 Toyota 2000 GT
VIN MF1010100 
Mileage 99,975 miles 
More Images
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
See all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this CarSee all the Images for this Car
Known History

 

1967 Toyota 2000GT

s/n MF1010100

Red with Black Interior

 

Toyota had an idea: with pure determination, the company could catapult itself forward several generations. There would be no evolution, Toyota would just take itself from Point A to Point E and skip everything between. To do so would require not just iron will but also an unprecedented financial and engineering commitment.

 

Japanese products were gaining respect in the late ‘60s, but few in the United States thought of their auto industry as world class. In 1965, Toyota set out to change that with the 2000GT, a beautifully-executed world-class sports car that was relatively obscure at the time but has since been recognized for what it is: a superb sports car that has all the right ingredients for an automotive legend. At the time, the car was costly at approximately $6000, and only 62 were sold in the United States between 1967 and 1970. In all, just 351 were built.

 

By the late 1950s, Japan had started building sports cars: Datsun’s Sports 1500 roadster appeared in 1959 and came to America in 1963, creating a cult following that supported the subsequent 510 and 240Z. Honda’s first production automobile was the microscopic S500. Toyota was justifiably proud of its own little sports coupe, the 45 horsepower, twin-cylinder Sports 800, and it did well in domestic racing, but you’d be hard pressed to call it competition for anything outside of an Austin-Healey Sprite. Much as in England, Japan’s Post-War austerity encouraged small, thrifty cars and few sporty cars had engines over one liter.

 

But after major domestic racing successes in the early ‘60s, Toyota began work on an automobile designed to compete with the new crop of premium European GTs, specifically the Jaguar E-type, as well as the Porsche 901/911. Project 280A was spearheaded by Toyota’s racing manager Jiro Kawano and his small team of about half-dozen people, one of whom was stylist Satoru Nozaki.

 

At the same time, Yamaha was attempting to expand its horizons as a sort of low-volume specialist subcontractor and had a four-cylinder sports car project called A550X ongoing with Nissan. Nissan had worked with Yamaha before but in this instance, altered its course and cancelled the A550X. As Yamaha had substantial money and commitment invested in the A550X, the company shopped it to Nissan’s arch-rival: Toyota. Since Yamaha would be assembling the limited-production sports cars, Toyota must surely have been pleased to avoid hand-building the engines and bodies. After that, a 2000GT prototype was swiftly completed for the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show in Harumi, where it stunned.

 

Being coach built, there is more Yamaha in a 2000GT than Toyota. The iron block of the DOHC inline-6 came from Toyota’s SOHC MS41 Crown sedan engine, but Yamaha produced the alloy twin cam hemi head and forged pistons, and hand built each one with triple Mikuni 40phh two-barrel side-draught carburetors. In street tune it produced 150 HP and 130-lbs-ft of torque; for racing, it was capable of 200 HP or more.

 

Satoru Nozaki’s body was turned directly from his scale clay model into body bucks, and as no one in Japan had a production line capable of producing the 2000GT’s complex, compound curves, the semi-monocoque steel body was hand built, with all detachable panels and trim being numbered specific to each car. The impossibly low ride height of 3 feet 9 inches is made possible by a central beam, spine-frame with Ys at each end, which looks quite a lot like that of a Lotus Elan. This also created a front-mid engine position and gave the car its famously perfect balance.

 

Running gear and drivetrain components were state-of-the-art. The only transmission able to handle the torque was an FA 4-speed from a Toyota truck, which was re-engineered to become the GT’s fully synchronized 5-speed. The carefully built twin cam engine was capable of 7,000 RPM engine, and the rear end was Japan’s first limited slip, with a standard 4.38:1 ratio and three optional choices. The 2000GT was Toyota’s first car to feature four-wheel disc brakes, which are Dunlop in this case; and the company’s first car with all-independent suspension, which employs double wishbones at all four corners.

 

The 2000GT lived up to its Grand Turismo name. Yamaha’s artisans who had been building concert-quality pianos, guitars and other instruments for a century, were employed to make the 2000GT’s rosewood dash and console and mahogany steering wheel and shifter. All instruments were chrome trimmed and watch-like in design and the deep black perforated sport seats were perfectly evocative of the 1960s sports car.

 

It was truly the complete package. It set numerous records in Japan and won the 1967 Fuji 24 Hours outright; while Carroll Shelby campaigned three in America and saw 1-2 finishes three times. On the street it famously starred in the James Bond film, You Only Live Twice. For this movie, two convertible versions with wire wheels were created once it was discovered that Sean Connery was too tall to fit inside the standard 2000GT. The cars came into the hands of several celebrity owners. As a driver's car, Road and Track, Motor Trend, Car Life and others called it essentially “perfect.”

 

This particular car is one of three from the collection of Sebring and Watkins Glen veteran Otto Linton. The car’s superb provenance includes several decades as part of the Jacobson Collection and in succeeding years, it has been owned by only two other discerning collectors.

 

Always treated with the deepest respect by its owners, it has been sympathetically restored by America’s foremost Toyota 2000GT specialists, Robert Tkacik and Peter Starr at Maine Line Exotics. A very well-preserved and authentic specimen prior to the restoration, Mr. Tkacik considers this car a top-shelf example of what many enthusiasts consider the greatest Japanese car of all time.

 

Long articles have been written about Otto Linton’s career, but his racing life took off at the first post-war race at Sebring in 1948. Over the next 16 years, he ran at Sebring 11 times, as well as at Watkin’s Glen almost every year, in everything from his well-known Osca to a Stutz. He drove equally interesting cars, once dropping a rod in his Duesenberg at 100 MPH while street racing on the Philadelphia Turnpike (he pulled the rod and piston roadside and went home on seven cylinders).

 

After his successful racing career, Mr. Linton founded Speedcraft Enterprises in Devon, Pennsylvania, specializing in both sports cars and racing preparation. A relationship with the great importer Max Hoffman gave him access to a wide range of imports from MGs to Mercedes-Benz 300SLs. In 1966, he acquired a Toyota dealership and given his racing history, was immediately attracted to the Toyota 2000GT. He owned three 2000GTs, and of the three, serial number MF10-10100 was stated by him to be his favorite. Otto Linton is still active and was recently inducted as a “Legend of the Glen” at Watkins Glen and celebrated his 98th birthday at the Simeone Museum in May 2015.

 

After Mr. Linton’s stewardship, the car was passed to three succeeding collectors: the Jacobson Collection at Richard Toyota in Scranton, Pennsylvania; the collection of Sara and Brown Maloney in Washington State (who successfully drove the car in the 2010 Copper State 1000); and one private collection since. It was brought to marque experts Robert Tkacik and Peter Starr at Maine Line Exotics, who have owned or restored more than 50 U.S.-market 2000GTs since 1976. Mr. Tkacik’s inspection confirmed the originality of the car finding no evidence of any alteration or accident repair. Its original character and details were carefully preserved during the sympathetic 2007 restoration, when the car was stripped to bare-metal and refinished in its original factory-correct color of Solar Red. Today, this car presents in splendid condition, with a grade of authenticity and correctness that is supported by the foremost Toyota 2000GT authorities.

 

Today, it is in lovely condition, with a crisp presentation consistent with a car restored by capable experts to high standards a few years ago. The paint was done to very good standards and shows a few small blemishes, and the rest of the exterior is excellent, with nice chrome, lights and glass, and wheels. There is an abundance of thoughtful design details from the integration of the rear reflectors to the double bubble roof treatment, to the neat opening side panels that conceal the battery on the right side and the air filter and hydraulic reservoirs on the left side.

 

The interior appears to retain its original upholstery in places, which is extremely well-preserved. The instruments are neatly detailed, including an unusual stopwatch function next to the clock. The carpets and dashboard are excellent, although there are a few hairline cracks to the dashboard wood trim. There are also some scratches to the door jamb kick plates. Again, the attention to detail and thoughtfulness of the interior is striking, with neatly integrated storage compartment between the seats and neat umbrella style handbrake. The rear hatchback adds practicality and the carpet and upholstery in the luggage area are excellent. The engine compartment is not freshly restored but is nicely detailed. The car is equipped with triple Weber carburetors, which are similar to the original Mikuni units (themselves based on the Solex design).

 

The car is a pleasure to drive. For the jaded enthusiast, it represents a very unique experience that is simultaneously familiar because it is a vintage sports car, but also meaningfully and refreshingly different to the driver who has never experienced a vintage Japanese car. The car is extremely low, and dimensionally compact all around, something that is hidden in pictures by the superb proportions, which are consistent with those of much larger cars. The chassis is light, balanced, and precise, with the combination of the delicateness of the Lotus Elan (helped by the cocooning feeling of the low seating position, high central backbone/center console) and the trustworthy quality feel and durability of a German car. The motor is a pleasure, with responsive, smooth character that makes it very happy to rev. The exhaust and other engine noises are excellent. The gearbox is a pleasure to use, with good synchromesh and a high mounted short shift lever that gives a very sporty feel. First gear is quite short (perhaps a vestige of the gearbox’s origin in a truck?), giving brisk performance off the line, while the remaining gearing is relaxed and well suited to touring. Steering is precise and the driver comes away very impressed by how well-resolved, communicative, and enjoyable the car is to drive. Though obviously inspired by the E-Type, the 2000GT feels quite different. While it lacks the grunt and torque of the Jaguar, it feels lower, smaller, more modern, and decisively more sporting. In short, it epitomizes the vintage sports car’s golden age, with the analog directness of an old car and the sophistication of independent suspension, limited slip, a slick 5-speed gearbox, and a dual overhead cam triple carbureted inline-6 that loves to rev.

 

For decades, the 2000GT was a bit of a curiosity and sleeper in the collector car world, but has really come into its own in the last decade or so. Values have exploded and the cars are now recognized as one of the most collectible post-war sports cars and arguably the most desirable Japanese car ever made. Indeed, they have all the ingredients of a true collector car: rarity, technical sophistication, competition success, and stunning looks.

 

Some cars inspire us because their aesthetic beauty; others because of their performance and character; and the truly great cars do both. But unlike Italy or America, Japan didn’t have a cultural heritage of high-performance cars. The Toyota 2000GT is without compare, having no rivals in its day in Japan. It didn’t remotely resemble anything else that any Japanese manufacturer had ever builts. It was created in a world where there was no competition and is all the more impressive for that. Today, it stands as one of the high points that define the 20th century automobile.