Toyota 2000GT 1967
Called Japan’s first exotic or supercar by some, the Toyota 2000GT was certainly revolutionary as far as Japanese cars went. The smooth, flowing lines of the 2000GT were reminiscent of Ferraris of the day, and it was built on a backbone chassis, which was used extensively by Lotus at the time.
Underneath its long hood was a 2.0-liter DOHC inline-6, based on the top-of-the-line Crown powerplant, which produced 147 HP. This engine was jointly developed by Yamaha. The famous motorcycle/musical instrument maker also provided the wood grain on the car’s dashboard with materials it used for its world-class pianos.
The car’s suspension was also first rate, with double wishbones at both front and rear. But the Toyota 2000GT was not all about beauty. This highly tuned machine was able to win several times on the Fuji Speedway and Suzuka circuit, even establishing the international speed record on the Yatabe test course going as fast as 136 mph. Two special convertible versions were produced for the James Bond movie, “You Only Live Twice”, giving the Toyota sports car worldwide appeal.
Sales of such a high-end sports car were not stellar, especially one with a price tag of 2,380,000 yen, which was twice as expensive as the luxury model Crown, and Toyota was faced with the hard reality of ceasing the car’s production after making only 300 cars.