Auctions and Brokerage
From a Private Northwest CollectionBill and Harriet Spencer, Lawrence, Kansas (acquired circa 1972)Current Owner (acquired from Maine Line Exotics)
In the mid-1960s, Toyota saw the need to create a special model that would raise awareness of the level of quality their emerging company was capable of producing. Toyota aimed high, seeking to compete with the world’s most esteemed sports cars. Project 280A, which created the 2000 GT, commenced in the summer of 1964. For production, Toyota partnered with Japanese motorcycle giant, Yamaha, for the engineering of a two-liter, dual overhead cam, six-cylinder engine based upon an existing Toyota cylinder block. The backbone chassis design allowed the car to sit very low and conceal its fully independent suspension.
Key to the project was distinctive and impeccable styling. Following numerous design revisions and engineering trials, Toyota’s in-house stylist Satoru Nozaki’s low-profle, fastback coupe design came to life. Many of the design details were unique and remain engaging to this day. With an overall height of less than 47", a curvaceous body, and brilliantly executed trim, the 2000 GT was simply stunning.
Weighing less than 2,500 lbs., the 125 hp straight six gave the car a 0 to 60 time of 10 seconds and a 137 mph top speed. The 2000 GT’s extremely low center of gravity and nearly neutral front-to-rear weight balance provide for a very satisfying driving experience.
With the 2000 GT, Toyota accomplished its original objective: to establish a presence on the world’s automotive stage. Though Toyota had initially set sales goals of 1,000 cars per year, the high costs of building the handmade exotics brought the project to a close after just 351 were built, with only 62 having been sent to the US as new cars. So scarce was the 2000 GT that most American dealers fortunate enough to be on the allocation list were sent only one car each. So expensive was the 2000 GT that most Toyota dealers did not even try to secure one. Upon the 2000 GT’s arrival, it is certain that it attracted curious enthusiasts to Toyota dealerships and undoubtedly drove sales of all Toyota models at a critical time in the company’s expansion into foreign markets. Some of the massive success Toyota has enjoyed in the decades since may be traced back to these few, magnificent hand-built cars.
The 2000 GT offered here, car number 10088, was first acquired circa 1972 by Bill Spencer, dealer principal of Competition Sports Cars, a new Toyota dealership in Lawrence, Kansas. 10088 had remained unsold and unregistered for the five years since it was built – in new car inventory at Placke Toyota in St. Louis – and therefore remained on its original MSO when Mr. Spencer acquired it in a dealership trade. When Mr. Spencer sold his dealership in 1973, he became the first registered owner of 10088 and kept it throughout the remainder of his life, passing it to his wife in 2001. Beloved by both Mr. Spencer and his wife, she commissioned a light refurbishment in 2007 by 2000 GT specialists Maine Line Exotics based in Biddeford, Maine, and shortly after agreed to sell it to the company. The work then went to a further level and included an engine rebuild, a suspension rebuild and the addition of a faithful copy of the original exhaust system in stainless steel. Its next caretaker, the current owner, discovered 10088 and was immediately captivated by it. He was so taken that he sold his red 2000 GT in order to acquire 10088, a car of superior quality in his preferred color combination.
2000 GT experts Peter Starr and Bob Tkacik regard 10088 as one of the most intact, correct, and original 2000 GTs in existence, which retains its original tool kit, extremely rare factory manuals, and a host of documentation. The 2000 GT was thoughtfully upgraded with Weber carburetors; the original Mikuni Solex carburetors accompany the car. While beautifully refinished in white, the interior is stated by the consignor to be largely original, even retaining its original rosewood veneer upper dash, made by the Yamaha Piano Company. Showing just 46,600 miles at the time of cataloguing, the consignor states that this, his second 2000 GT, has always been in reverent, careful ownership and is in outstanding condition throughout.
For any collector seeking a Toyota 2000 GT that places highly among the very finest examples in the world, one need look no further. OFFERED FROM A PRIVATE NORTHWEST COLLECTION
Gooding & Company is pleased to offer an exceptional group of low-production postwar sports cars from a visionary private northwest collection. This selection comprises some of the best-specified and finest examples extant of each model: a BMW 507, a Camaro Z/28, a Mazda Cosmo, and a Toyota 2000 GT. In addition to their impressive quality, these cars remain well-known, noteworthy examples.
The consignor’s passion for cars extends back to his childhood, and he still owns his mother and father’s 1956 Thunderbird, which they purchased new. Over the past couple of decades, the collection has grown in depth and scale, with an eye toward innovative design; and now encompasses unusual German, Italian, American, and Japanese sports cars, each meticulously chosen and exhaustively maintained at the highest level. Furthermore, many of the collection’s cars see both concours and driving use with regularity.
With the time and effort dedicated to acquiring and presenting each of these four cars, the presence of these automobiles at auction should be seen as a significant opportunity for an astute collector who shares the equal desire to own the very best.