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A head-turner from the start, the Toyota 2000GT debuted at the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show, but production didn’t begin until May 1967. Beneath its aerodynamic coupé design, the 2000GT featured a backbone chassis inspired by the Lotus Elan, with double-wishbone independent suspension and disc brakes at all corners—a first for a Japanese car.

Powered by a Yamaha-built twin-cam six-cylinder engine based on the Toyota Crown’s cast-iron block, the 2000GT had a 1,998cc displacement, producing 150bhp at 6,600rpm, with up to 200bhp available in race tune.

It also boasted a five-speed all-synchromesh transmission, rack-and-pinion steering, an oil cooler, a heated rear screen, and magnesium-alloy knock-off wheels. With a top speed of around 130mph, it was among the fastest 2-litre production cars of its era.

Despite generating significant publicity for Toyota, the 2000GT was hindered by its high cost, which exceeded that of the Jaguar E-Type and Porsche 911. Only 351 units were produced between 1967 and 1970, including two special roadsters featured in the James Bond film “You Only Live Twice.” Today, this iconic Japanese sports car is rare and highly prized.

Photos by Kevin Van Campenhout courtesy of RM Sotheby’s