Auctions and Brokerage
*Please note this vehicle was first titled in 1971.
Hans-Peter Meier, Gretzenbach, Switzerland (acquired new in 1971)Charlotte Herger, Rothrist, Switzerland (acquired in May 1978)Peter Schibli, Olten, Switzerland (acquired circa 1979)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 1982)
With the Japanese automotive industry enjoying explosive growth by the 1960s and poised to dominate globally, its two largest manufacturers began eyeing the competitive sports car market as a means to demonstrate design and technological prowess. Nissan was first to market with its excellent 1,500 cc and 2,000 cc sports roadsters of the 1960s. Toyota’s first foray into the luxury GT class began with a collaboration with Yamaha to develop and build a car based on a sporting design by Satoru Nozaki.
The new Toyota-Yamaha GT was planned as a low-volume, high-prestige car. Drawing inspiration from Jaguar’s sensational E-Type and the backbone chassis of the Lotus Elan, the new car, named the 2000 GT, was powered by Toyota’s basic iron-block inline six from the Toyota Crown and topped by a new Yamaha-developed aluminum cylinder head with hemispherical combustion chambers and chain-driven dual overhead cams. Triple Mikuni Solex carburetors and tubular headers helped the tweaked engine develop 150 hp, allowing GT-class speeds of approximately 120 mph. Boasting near-perfect weight distribution and a low center of gravity, the 2000 GT delivered outstanding driving dynamics, reconfirmed in a modern road test published in Motor Trend Classic. Given its abilities, racing versions appeared at the Japanese Grand Prix with a prototype 2000 GT setting Japan’s first three FIA-sanctioned land-speed records.
The 2000 GT debuted and created a sensation at the 1967 Tokyo Motor Show. Famous model/actress Twiggy appeared with the gold 2000 GT show car and returned to England with it afterward. Excellent product placement came about due to the arrival in Japan of movie producer Albert R. Broccoli, who was scouting locations and interesting Japanese cars for the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Toyota eagerly supplied Broccoli with two prototypes from the 2000 GT development program, converted into striking roadsters. Despite the media buzz and glowing reviews, few 2000 GTs were produced – numbering as low as 337 examples – of which approximately 84 were left-hand drive. The 2000 GT fulfilled its mission by demonstrating the capabilities of Japan’s automotive industry, and each remaining example is eagerly sought after by collectors today.
This 2000 GT was imported to Switzerland in January 1969 by Emil Frey AG, the official Toyota importer. On January 30th, it arrived at Garage des Nations in Geneva, remaining there until August 1971, when it was delivered to its first known owner, Hans-Peter Meier. The 2000 GT subsequently passed through the ownership of two more collectors, ultimately being acquired in 1982 by the consignor, who commissioned a cosmetic restoration with the car repainted in its original red. In 1993, the 2000 GT received a frame-off restoration and, following completion of that work, it was regularly used on rallies and seen at classic car events. In 2014, the vehicle’s engine, ancillaries, and mechanical systems were overhauled to the highest standard by the experts at Roos Engineering Ltd., with the finished engine run-in and tested. Additionally, the body was repaired and restored, the seats were correctly re-trimmed, and the rosewood-veneered dash – a by-product of Yamaha’s piano-building heritage – was also restored. All electrical systems were tested, and, following completion, the 2000 GT was road tested to ensure it is in proper running order.
Clearly benefitting from 30-plus years of single-owner care and maintenance – the vehicle resided at all times since importation in prestigious Swiss collections – this rare and historic 2000 GT features its original engine and factory-specified color combination, and comes with copies of early documents including its Swiss wagenkarte (chassis card) and an engine-performance diagram from its rebuild. Impressively restored and exceedingly rare, this 2000 GT represents an irreplaceable design and engineering benchmark that occupies a truly important niche in automotive history.