The beautiful coupe survived a shootout and is now a rare example on the road in the U.K.
The Toyota 2000GT now celebrates 50 years since going on the market, and to commemorate its sports coupe, the automaker is interviewing someone who actually has one of the rare models. Jane Weitzmann has owned her 2000GT for about nine years, and a restoration in the U.K. revealed the car had a dramatic history before entering its latest owner’s collection.
At some point, Weitzmann’s 2000GT was apparently involved in a shootout because restorers found a bullet hole in the door. Based on the shot’s location, Weitzmann speculated it likely hit the driver’s thigh and possibly caused the person to wreck the car. This potentially explained the front-end damage her 2000GT had before the repairs.
Now, Weitzmann’s coupe is immaculate, and Toyota believes that it’s the only road-worthy example currently in the U.K. "The car is beautiful, the epitome of a proper little sports car with beautiful proportions, perfect engineering, perfect set-up, and a lovely car to drive," she said. "It’s the joy of being able to throw her round a corner, knowing she’ll go exactly where you tell her to."
The 2000GT showed that Toyota had the talent to create a car as good as what was coming out of Europe. The coupe’s pack a Yamaha-tuned 2.0-litre inline six making around 150 horsepower – although there are a handful of more powerful 2.3-litre examples. The company then crammed the engine into a svelte, two-seater coupe with an aluminum body.
Toyota first showed off the prototype in 1965, and Yamaha started assembling them for the automaker in 1967. When production ended in 1970, it had only built 351 examples. Among them were a pair of specially prepped 2000GTs for the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Sean Connery’s height made getting into the low-slung coupe a tight fit, but slicing off the roof solved the problem.
Today, the Toyota 2000GT has the rarified position among classic Japanese sports cars of being able to bring $1 million or more. Check out the video below for a little more background about these rare coupes and for a chance to hear its raspy engine.