On April 27, RM Auctions will sell ‘without reserve’ the enviable collection owned by Texas enthusiast Don Davis. The group is a nice mix of American and European classics, most of which are low production and recipients of expensive restorations. Undoubtedly, each car is special, but one stands out among the Western machines by way of its badge: Toyota. Overshadowed by the later and much more prevalent Datsun 240Z, the Toyota 2000GT represents a watershed in the history of Japanese performance cars, and a machine that is already highly collectible.
The 2000GT is perhaps most aptly described as “the best sports car you’ve never heard of.” Developed in conjunction with Yamaha, this slinky two-passenger coupe packed a two-liter inline six-cylinder engine with a cast iron block and double overhead cams, good for 150 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and a top speed of over 135 mph. James Crowe, writing of the car in Road & Track, described it as “highly refined in handling and driving and one of the most exciting cars we have driven.” The luxurious interior fittings, including a rosewood veneer dashboard and a signal-seeking radio, were described as “up to par for a luxurious GT—an impressive car in which to sit or ride, or simply admire.”
The 2000GT was the Japanese E-Type, a car that could run against the best that Europe had to offer, and it has been credited with establishing the Toyota name as a force to be reckoned with in the automotive world. Unfortunately, the 2000GT has never achieved the same fame outside of Japan as its European brethren, in large part because only 351 were built and very few were exported outside of its home country. As its wonders have begun to achieve recognition in recent years, surviving examples have become highly sought-after, and today, the 2000GT is universally described as the most collectible, desirable, and valuable Japanese automobile ever produced.
The 2000GT of the Don Davis Collection is quite special, as it is one of only 62 left-hand drive examples produced as well as an original U.S.-delivery car. After spending its first few decades stateside, the car returned to Japan under the ownership of a private enthusiast. Then, once again, it made its way to the United States. It was acquired by Davis from another prominent Texas collector only a short time ago.
The car had been previously restored to high standards, but during its time in the Davis Collection, it has undergone significant work to improve the restoration’s authenticity, including painting the inside of the headlamp buckets black, applying the correct grey finish around the side window surrounds, finishing the wheels the correct color, and taking the Toyota down to bare metal and respraying the body its original Bendix Yellow. The reading of 62,000 miles is believed original, as demonstrated by the excellent condition of the unrestored gauges, dash, console, and seats, which are all in highly original condition. The car’s authenticity and quality is documented against the factory specifications in Shin Yoshikawa’s respected volume on these automobiles, Toyota 2000GT: The Complete History of Japan’s First Supercar.
This car may very well be the finest and most authentic 2000GT to come to market in recent years. As such, it is a notable example of a car that has only grown more difficult to find as its qualities have started to gain recognition. In the future, and as Japanese cars garner more respect among collectors, the 2000GT will be a top choice. This sale, therefore, might represent and opportunity to get ahead of the game.
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT is available without reserve at the upcoming RM Auctions Don Davis Collection sale, scheduled for April 27, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. It carries a pre-sale estimate of $650,000 to $850,000.
[Source: RM Auctions]