Toyota 2000GT was in fact a joint venture of Toyota and Yamaha that was produced under the contract by Yamaha from 1967 to 1970. This limited-production, hardtop coupe grand tourer featured a front-engine with rear-wheel drive. It was a 2-seat-coupe that was first unveiled in 1965 at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Toyota with its 2000Gt brought about revolution in the automotive market of Japan. A message was delivered through the production of 2000GT that the Japanese automotive market could produce the sports vehicles to compete with the European ones. Previously, Japan was known to produce imitative and drably practical cars. In one of the review of Road & Track magazine described the car as “one of the most exciting and enjoyable cars we’ve driven” meanwhile comparing it with Porsche 911. At present, the 2000GT is nothing less than a valuable collectible as well as considered as the first ever Japanese supercar.
Yamaha accounted for majority of the work done on 2000GT. Although, Yamaha itself had a great range of products of the time, yet it involved in collaborating with many Japanese automakers. It is believed that a German-American designer Albrecht Geortz, a protégé of Raymond Lowey, was behind an inspiration for this car. He joined the Yamaha in 1960s with a view to develop a two-seater sports car for Nissan but the project was later discontinued. Later, Yamaha offered its services to Toyota, desiring to improve its image, in contrast to its conservative role in the Japanese automaker market. Toyota agreed on the proposal but offered its own design by Satoru Nozaki.
The 2000GT certainly got a classic styling with entire aluminum bodywork featuring pop-up headlights and plexiglass covered driving lamps that resembled to the one on Toyota Sports 800. Slight modifications were made in 1969 version in terms of turn signals and rather small driving lamps. Interior of the car was redesigned to meet the modern trends of the time.
The 2000GT received a 2.0-L (121 in³) straight-6 (the 3M) similar to the one used in top ranked Toyota Crown sedan. Yamaha introduced a new double overhead camshaft heads into the engine. The car was offered with three different final drives mated to a 4.375 ratio axle and pushed an impressive 135 mph (217km/h). The engine was conventionally fitted fore-and-aft with rear-wheel drive mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Other features were slip differential as well as all-round power-assisted brakes.
Only 351 units of 2000GT went into production. The data provided by Toyota and Yamaha, 233 MF10s, 109 MFLs and 9 MF 12Ls were manufactured and almost all of them were produced by manufactured by Yamaha.
2000GT Open-Top, the “Bond Model”
The 2000GT has the honor to appear in the James Bond movie ‘You Only Live Twice’ in 1967. The majority of the picturization of movie was done in Japan. The two special open-top models were prepared particularly for the movie and hence given the name ‘Bond Model’.