First published in 2011-04-11
Adelaide’s annual All Japan Day usually throws up the random oddball machine, but none more AWESOME than one of only 351 Toyota 2000 GT’s ever built. Jeff Grandsden has been custodian and caretaker of this machine since the day the Smoker family brought it brand-new in 1967 although it has only been used sparingly since day one, having 23,000 miles on the clock and still sporting the original tires.
One of only two delivered new to South Australia, the fact that any were sold in Australia was a miracle; the August 1968 Wheels magazine list price was $9,400, around double that of Toyota’s next most expensive model, the also super rare Corona GT5 coupe. More poignantly, $9,400 was even more coin than a Lancia Flaminia, Porsche 911, E-Type Jaguar, any Maserati or the entire 5-model Hillman range combined. Combined! This was at a time when upstart Japanese cars were still met with caution and World War Two was still a relatively recent memory.
However, fortunately for us, Mr Smoker threw caution to the wind back in 1967 and signed on the dotted line. The aluminium body has never been hit, all the parts are original and it is presents several shades beyond completely shit-hot. The interior features some high quality appointments and even includes an in-dash stopwatch for when you’re cutting some undoubtedly-awesome lap times.
The Toyota 2000GT and the Datsun 240Z were thought to be sewn with the same germinal seed; Nissan designer and Raymond Loewry protégé Albrecht von Goertz worked on a ‘Nissan 2000GT’ project with Yamaha, which was eventually shelved, however Yamaha found a willing partner in Toyota and the 2000GT project continued, albeit in modified form.
While Goertz’ design for the original Nissan Silvia did stem from this project, his influence can clearly be seen in the first Datsun Z-series car, an early example of which was parked next to the 2000GT at the show. The cars share way too many stylistic similarities to be co-incidence; from the classic 1960s Coke-bottle haunches, the up-sweep of the side window line to the minor details like the access ports either side of the bonnet and even the Toyota’s alloy wheels and the Datsun’s original wheelcovers, the resemblance is totally there.
Completely awesome. Soak it up as you’re unlikely to see it again. Although, All Japan Day is every year in Glenelg, Adelaide so we encourage you to head down there and you never know…
STOP PRESS – GoA contacts have revealed this photo, taken from Back In The Day.
It shows this Toyota 2000GT; one and the same, being paraded through the streets of Broken Hill, NSW in the late 1960’s as part of a pageant. At the wheel is a GoA staffer’s Grandpa-in-law! Awesome family photo and awesome classic car history!