Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Car Of The Day: September 14, 2011

Today's car of the day is Yat Ming's 1967 Toyota 2000GT.

The Toyota 2000GT is a limited-production, front-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-seat, hardtop coupé grand tourer designed by Toyota in collaboration with Yamaha. First displayed to the public at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1965, the 2000GT was manufactured under contract by Yamaha between 1967 and 1970.

The 2000GT revolutionized the automotive world's view of Japan. The 2000GT demonstrated that Japanese auto manufacturers could produce a sports car to rival those of Europe, in contrast to Japan's image at the time as a producer of imitative and stodgily practical vehicles. Reviewing a pre-production 2000GT in 1967, Road & Track magazine summed up the car as "one of the most exciting and enjoyable cars we've driven", and compared it favorably to the Porsche 911. Today, the 2000GT is seen as the first seriously collectible Japanese car and the first "Japanese supercar". Examples of the 2000GT have sold at auction for as much as US$375,000.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Toyota 2000GT

One of the earliest Yat Ming castings, the 2000GT remains a good looker to this day.

The 2000GT design is widely considered a classic in its own right. Its smoothly flowing bodywork was executed in aluminium and featured pop-up headlights, as well as large plexiglas covered driving lamps on either side of the grille similar to those on the Toyota Sports 800. The design scarcely featured bumpers at all, and the plexiglas driving lamp covers in particular are rather easily damaged. The car was extremely low, just 45.7 in (116 cm) to the highest point of the roof. In 1969, the front was modified slightly, making the driving lamps smaller and changing the shape of the turn signals. The rear turn signals were enlarged at the same time, and some alterations were made to modernise the interior. The last few vehicles were fitted with air conditioning and had automatic transmission as an option. These cars had an additional scoop fitted underneath the grille to supply air to the A/C unit. Two custom open-top models were built for the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, but a factory-produced convertible was never offered during the car's production run.

The interior offered comfortable, if cramped, accommodation and luxury touches like a rosewood-veneer dashboard and an auto-seeking radio tuner. At the time, Road & Track felt that the interior was up to par for a "luxurious GT", calling it an impressive car "in which to sit or ride - or simply admire."

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