The Toyota 2000GT now celebrates 50 years since going on the market, and to commemorate its sports coupe the automaker is interviewing someone who actually has one of the rare models. Jane Weitzmann has owned her 2000GT for about nine years, and a restoration in the U.K. revealed the car had a dramatic history before entering its latest owner’s collection.
At some point, Weitzmann’s 2000GT was apparently involved in a shootout because restorers found a bullet hole in the door. Based on the shot’s location, Weitzmann speculated it likely hit the driver’s thigh and possibly caused the person to wreck the car. This potentially explained the front-end damage her 2000GT had before the repairs.
Now, Weitzmann’s coupe is immaculate, and Toyota believes that it’s the only road-worthy example currently in the U.K. "The car is beautiful, the epitome of a proper little sports car with beautiful proportions, perfect engineering, perfect set-up and a lovely car to drive," she said. "It’s the joy of being able to throw her round a corner, knowing she’ll go exactly where you tell her to."
The 2000GT showed that Toyota had the talent to create a car as good as what was coming out of Europe. The coupe’s pack a Yamaha-tuned 2.0-liter inline six making around 150 horsepower (112 kilowatts) – although there are a handful of more powerful 2.3-liter examples. The company then crammed the engine into a svelte, two-seater coupe with an aluminum body.
Toyota first showed off the prototype in 1965, and Yamaha started assembling them for the automaker in 1967. When production ended in 1970, it had only built 351 examples. Among them were a pair of specially prepped 2000GTs for the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. Sean Connery’s height made getting into the low-slung coupe a tight fit, but slicing off the roof solved the problem.
Today, the Toyota 2000GT has the rarified position among classic Japanese sports cars of being able to bring $1 million or more. Check out the video below for a little more background about these rare coupes and for a chance to hear its raspy engine.
Gallery: Toyota 2000GT restoration
The Toyota That Lived Twice
8 February 2017
Classic car restoration reveals gun attack mystery
The Toyota 2000GT became world-famous as the star car in the 1960s James Bond film You Only Live
Twice, but it seems the life-or-death adventures of this classic sports car – celebrating its 50th
anniversary this year – have not been confined to the movie screen. A UK restoration team working to
bring one of the ultra-rare models back to pristine condition discovered that at some point in its
history a bullet had been fired through the driver’s door.
It’s a mystery that adds to the allure of the car for owner Jane Weitzmann, who shares the story of her
treasured 2000GT in a new video that’s helping Toyota mark the model’s first 50 years.
She said: “We don’t have a lot of history on the car, but we did discover during the restoration there
had been a bullet hole. It would have hit the driver somewhere in the upper thigh, so that could
account for the (crash) damage that had obviously been done to the front end at some point.”
Jane and her late husband wanted to own a 2000GT since they first saw it in the Bond film and were
delighted finally to be able to source a car from Japan nine years ago. The restoration has returned it
to its original condition and it has taken pride of place in a classic car collection that also includes its
‘60s sports car sister, the Toyota Sport 800.
The 2000GT marked a watershed in Toyota’s history, a demonstration of how the company could
develop and build a light and nimble contemporary sports car with international appeal. Although it
did not achieve a sales breakthrough, it remains a design classic. Its low, compact and muscular lines
becoming a reference point for the team which created today’s Toyota GT86 coupe.
“The car is beautiful, the epitome of a proper little sports car with beautiful proportions, perfect
engineering, perfect set-up and a lovely car to drive,” said Jane. “It’s the joy of being able to throw her
round a corner, knowing she’ll go exactly where you tell her to.”