This week’s look back at old classified advertisements features a Toyota 2000GT race car offered for sale in the April 1985 issue of AutoWeekmagazine for $37,500.
The Toyota 2000GT was first seen at the Tokyo Motor Show of 1965, with production taking place between 1967 and 1970. It revolutionized the automotive world’s view of Japan, formerly seen as a producer of imitative and stodgily practical vehicles, and showed that the Japanese makers could produce a sports car to rival those of Europe.
Powered by a 2.0 liter DOHC straight-6 cylinder engine producing 150 hp, the 2,400 pound 2000 GT was capable of 135 mph in street trim. Production was limited to 351 regular production cars and 60 were sold in North America for $6,800, more than same-day Porsches.
Toyota initially entered the 2000 GT in competition at home, coming third in the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix and winning the Fuji 24-Hour Race in 1967. In addition, the car set several FIA world records for speed and endurance in a 72-hour test. Unfortunately, the record car was destroyed in a pace car accident and eventually scrapped.
In 1967, Toyota entered into an agreement with Shelby American Racing to develop the 2000 GT for SCCA Production competition. The terms of the deal were simple: The manufacturer was to ship three cars (chassis #10001, #10005, #10006) to Shelby in California, where they would be modified to current SCCA regulations and developed for the 1968 series.
In the summer of 1967, Shelby received the three chassis, which had already been prepared for racing in Japan. On September 6, 1967, chassis #10001 took to the track for the first time at Riverside Raceway with former Formula one driver Ronnie Bucknum piloting. After only two test outings and several Shelby suspension and engine modifications, Dave Jordan took to the track for a third test and shaved over four seconds off the lap times.
When the 1968 season began, SCCA ace Scooter Patrick was assigned to the # 33 car, while Dave Jordan became the official driver for the # 23 car. The freshman 2000 GTs showed true potential and stamina in the SCCA C-Production class, famously scoring three 1-2 finishes. All told, the pair racked up four wins, eight 2nd place finishes, and six 3rd place finishes, with an overall finishing record above 80%.
This particular Toyota 2000 GT, reported to be the factory Shelby #33 Scooter Patrick race car, was offered for sale “as raced except for paint, shocks and tires. Easily restored to race condition.”
It was last seen at the 2008 Monterey Historics where Scooter Patrick piloted it around Laguna Seca for several demonstration laps. We can attest that it was a well-received by the crowd.
The Cars That Matter January – April 2009 price guide suggests a $213,000 – $328,000 price for a regular production Toyota 2000 GT. Needless to say, this factory Toyota Shelby 2000 GT would command significantly more if it went to the market today.