1969 Toyota 2000GT Prototype sells for AU$1.1 million in Japan

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Toyota 2000GT front Toyota 2000GT front
Toyota 2000GT rear Toyota 2000GT rear
Toyota 2000GT side Toyota 2000GT side
Toyota 2000GT rear indicators Toyota 2000GT rear indicators
Toyota 2000GT interior Toyota 2000GT interior
Toyota 2000GT engine Toyota 2000GT engine

The first prototype, of Japan's first supercar, fetches big money - and it's not even the desirable version.

Japanese Auction house, BH Auction, held a high-end sports car auction in Tokyo last week; in which a 1969 Toyota 2000GT sold for a record-setting price of AU$1.19 million dollars.

While it’s not the outright record price-paid for a 2000GT, Japanese Nostalgic Car reports it to be the record price of the later and less-collectible MF12 facelift.

As popular as Japanese sports cars are today, for decades they were overlooked or even snuffed by the world’s elite collectors.

Toyota’s 2000GT however, was an outlier and a watershed moment for the global high-dollar collecting community.

Toyota-2000GT-rear.jpg

It was Japan’s answer to the E-type; just as fast with half the engine, and arguably every bit as gorgeous.

Lauded as one of the best looking cars in history, and for its extreme performance of the time – its outright sales record came in 2013 when RM Sotheby’s dropped the hammer on a yellow example, for over AU$1.5 million dollars.

At the time, David Kinney, publisher of Hagerty’s price guide, noted the ceiling-shattering sale to be over double the previous record price for any Asian-manufactured car, and the first Japanese car to break the seven-figure ceiling.

Toyota-2000GT-side.jpg

Officially, Toyota only built 337 examples of their flagship 2000GT (351 if you include all pre-production prototypes). The most desired and collectible versions are the early pre-facelift MF10 variants with the Yamaha-built twin-cam straight-six.

In 1969, Toyota sought to reduce costs and increase their export yield (with overseas markets previously deeming the $6000 car unjustifiable for a Toyota, or any Japanese-badged car) by fitting a larger 2.3lt inline-six, but with only a single-cam and 10 fewer horsepower.

Toyota-2000GT-engine.jpg

Amongst the list of visual export changes was the inclusion of rear-side turn signals – required by developing safety and design regulations in the US.

It was a less visually pleasing design execution than the original beguiling 2000GT, and in combining with the less technically brilliant powerplant, these facelifted MF12 models never commanded the high-prices of Toyota’s intended dream car.

This isn’t just any MF12 2000GT however, with chassis code MF12-000001 – it’s the first of nine facelift prototypes, and was never intended by Toyota to have been sold to the public.

 Toyota-2000GT-rear-indicators.jpg

Toyota Japan owns MF12-000002, and Toyota USA’s Museum holds MF12-000006: and we can only imagine the status of the buyer with enough pull to originally purchase Toyota’s first prototype. Prior to the recent sale, the car was said to have been cared for by an anonymous Japanese collector.

Beyond being the first prototype for Toyota, it’s one of just 62 left-hand drive examples; and just one of two of that were ever fitted with a three-speed automatic.

Toyota-2000GT-interior.jpg

This is the car that put collectible Japanese metal on the radar for the world’s top buyers, and while they were a colossal sales flop when new, RM Sotheby’s predicted Japan’s first true sports car to one day become a true collectible mainstay.

"If the world is fair, there will be a time in the future when the collectors that require a Daytona, a Miura and a Ghibli, will also demand a 2000GT".

 

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