Automotive

$2.53-million Toyota 2000GT becomes most expensive Japanese Car in History

$2.53-million Toyota 2000GT be...
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
View 51 Images
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $968,000 at RM Sothebys in New York in 2013
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This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $968,000 at RM Sothebys in New York in 2013
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $968,000 at RM Sothebys in New York in 2013
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This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $968,000 at RM Sothebys in New York in 2013
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $968,000 at RM Sothebys in New York in 2013
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This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $968,000 at RM Sothebys in New York in 2013
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $968,000 at RM Sothebys in New York in 2013
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This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $968,000 at RM Sothebys in New York in 2013
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $968,000 at RM Sothebys in New York in 2013
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This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $968,000 at RM Sothebys in New York in 2013
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $968,000 at RM Sothebys in New York in 2013
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This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $968,000 at RM Sothebys in New York in 2013
This 1968 Toyota 2000GT sold for EUR €728,000 (USD $1,001,844) at RM Sothebys in Monaco in 2014
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This 1968 Toyota 2000GT sold for EUR €728,000 (USD $1,001,844) at RM Sothebys in Monaco in 2014
This 1968 Toyota 2000GT sold for EUR €728,000 (USD $1,001,844) at RM Sothebys in Monaco in 2014
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This 1968 Toyota 2000GT sold for EUR €728,000 (USD $1,001,844) at RM Sothebys in Monaco in 2014
This 1968 Toyota 2000GT sold for EUR €728,000 (USD $1,001,844) at RM Auctions (now RM Sothebys) in Monaco in 2014
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This 1968 Toyota 2000GT sold for EUR €728,000 (USD $1,001,844) at RM Auctions (now RM Sothebys) in Monaco in 2014
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,045,000 at RM Sotheby's during Monterey 2014
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This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,045,000 at RM Sotheby's during Monterey 2014
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,045,000 at RM Sotheby's during Monterey 2014
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This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,045,000 at RM Sotheby's during Monterey 2014
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,045,000 at RM Sotheby's during Monterey 2014
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This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,045,000 at RM Sotheby's during Monterey 2014
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,155,000 at Gooding & Company's 2014 Pebble Beach auction
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This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,155,000 at Gooding & Company's 2014 Pebble Beach auction
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,155,000 at RM Sotheby's in Fort Worth in 2013
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This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,155,000 at RM Sotheby's in Fort Worth in 2013
This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sothebys in Monterey in 2021
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This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sothebys in Monterey in 2021
This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
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This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
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This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
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This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
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This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
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This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
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This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
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This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
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This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
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This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
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This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021
This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021. This was the scene during one of the preview sessions, where the stars of the show were wheeled onto the forecourt of the Monterey Conference Center. The Lexus LFA is in the middle of the three rows, one back from the front.
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This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021. This was the scene during one of the preview sessions, where the stars of the show were wheeled onto the forecourt of the Monterey Conference Center. The Lexus LFA is in the middle of the three rows, one back from the front.
This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
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This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
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This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
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This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
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This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
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This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
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This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
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This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
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This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
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This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
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This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
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This 1990 Nissan R90CK sold for JPY 190,300,000 (USD $1,715,745) at BH Auction in Tokyo in 2018
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
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This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
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This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
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This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
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This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
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This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
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This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
A 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022. One of three cars prepared for production racing by Carrol Shelby, this is one of the three pictured in its prime.
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A 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022. One of three cars prepared for production racing by Carrol Shelby, this is one of the three pictured in its prime.
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
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This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
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This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
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This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
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This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
Our auction listings convert any sales outside the United States into USD based on the prevailing exchange rates on the next available business day. We love charity auctions but tax breaks and generosity means they can’t realistically be included in any data that people might use to make important decisions, so we acknowledge but don't count them.
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Our auction listings convert any sales outside the United States into USD based on the prevailing exchange rates on the next available business day. We love charity auctions but tax breaks and generosity means they can’t realistically be included in any data that people might use to make important decisions, so we acknowledge but don't count them.
This chart reworks some data that was first published on Hagerty Insider's Market Trends section in an article written by John Wiley published 31 December 2021 and entitled 2021 Year in Review: The collector car market got larger and younger in 2021 The two trend lines are crossing around about … NOW. This has significant ramifications for the Collector Car Marketplace.
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This chart reworks some data that was first published on Hagerty Insider's Market Trends section in an article written by John Wiley published 31 December 2021 and entitled 2021 Year in Review: The collector car market got larger and younger in 2021 The two trend lines are crossing around about … NOW. This has significant ramifications for the Collector Car Marketplace.
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
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This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
View gallery - 51 images

With the sale of the Shelby Toyota 2000GT for US$2,535,000 at Gooding & Company's Amelia Island auction on March 5, 2022, the Toyota 2000GT regained its crown as the most expensive Japanese car sold at auction.

"The Most Expensive Japanese Car" is a crown the 2000GT has held from when it was new in 1967, for all but a few years of its entire existence.

It was the car's preposterous American $7,150 price tag in 1967 that is one of the contributing factors to its price today. At a time when the V8 Chevrolet C2 Corvette’s base price was $4,240, and the average annual income was $7,300, the tiny 2000cc six-cylinder sports car was hardly a compelling choice to an American public that had still not forgotten Pearl Harbor, or the questionable quality of products that were "Made in Japan" at that time, and had never heard of William Edwards Deming.

This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022

So if you wanted a sports car in 1967, it was easy to overlook the upstart Toyota 2000GT that was 15 percent more expensive than the Jaguar E-Type or the Porsche 911. Hence it sold very poorly and just 62 were sold new in America, with the bulk of the 351 production run built for the Japanese domestic market with right-hand-drive.

The 2000GT held that crown of the most expensive Japanese car at auction until middle age, being first surpassed by a Mazda 767B racing car in 2017, half a century after it entered American showrooms.

Though the Toyota 2000GT may not have fared well in the showroom, at the time it offered the very latest automotive technology, with a superb 2.0-liter DOHC straight-six engine, four-wheel double-wishbone suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, radial tires, magnesium alloy wheels, and retractable headlamps, and its 220 km/h (137 mph) was on a par with European sports cars of the day.

Our auction listings convert any sales outside the United States into USD based on the prevailing exchange rates on the next available business day. We love charity auctions but tax breaks and generosity means they can’t realistically be included in any data that people might use to make important decisions, so we acknowledge but don't count them.
Our auction listings convert any sales outside the United States into USD based on the prevailing exchange rates on the next available business day. We love charity auctions but tax breaks and generosity means they can’t realistically be included in any data that people might use to make important decisions, so we acknowledge but don't count them.

Prior to its launch, it took part in speed trials and, despite inclement conditions with an approaching typhoon, it set three world records (10,000 miles, 15,000 km, 72 hours) and 13 international records. It also achieved wins and high placement in a variety of races (the new record holder being one of the cars responsible for a successful race campaign), but it never quite became viewed by the public as the car it really was, for a variety of reasons. Even its role in the blockbuster James Bond movie, You Only Live Twice was mitigated by it becoming a roadster in the film (they had to saw the top off to fit Sean Connery's 6′ 2″ frame), whereas all the showroom versions had hardtops.

A 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022. One of three cars prepared for production racing by Carrol Shelby, this is one of the three pictured in its prime.
A 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022. One of three cars prepared for production racing by Carrol Shelby, this is one of the three pictured in its prime.

Remarkably, it may be the last time the 2000GT will hold the record as the Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition is now appreciating rapidly, and whereas there were 337 Toyota 2000GTs released into the wild, there are just 50 LFA Nürburgrings and the laws of supply and demand are ultimately immutable.

The contrast between the two cars vying for the most valuable road car ever to emerge from Japan is stark: the 2000GT is now 55 years of age, and most of the Toyotas that appear in this listing have been restored at least once. By comparison, the bulk of the cars in the top 50 most expensive Japanese cars is quickly moving towards the Lexus, and almost all of them have just a few miles on the odometer. Like the best whiskies, it is a sad fact that the best cars spend their lives on display as hedges against inflation, rather than doing what they were intended for.

The rarity of the Lexus LFA Nürburgring has already propelled to a $1.6-million price tag, and that rising tide has taken the standard LFA, with 450 units out there, to the cusp of becoming a million-dollar car itself. Lexus LFAs have fetched $808,000 (RM Sotheby's | 27 January 2022), $819,000 (RM Sotheby's |13 August 2021), $786,800 (Collecting Cars | 14 August 2021), $808,000 (Bring a Trailer | 2 July 2021), $720,000 (RM Sotheby's |22 May 2021), and $730,000 (Bring a Trailer | 7 October 2021) in the last 12 months and momentum alone suggests it is heading towards seven figures – a remarkable doubling of price for a 10-year-old car produced in such large numbers.

The change in fortunes for both Japanese cars and the Lexus LFA in particular is that whereas the baby boomers have been the dominant force in car collecting circles for the last 20 years, COVID-19, a change in buying habits preferring online platforms, and a natural changing of the guard has seen the collector market rapidly get younger over the last few years.

Car collectors getting younger and they won't hate Japanese cars like the boomers did

This chart reworks some data that was first published on Hagerty Insider's Market Trends section in an article written by John Wiley published 31 December 2021 and entitled 2021 Year in Review: The collector car market got larger and younger in 2021 The two trend lines are crossing around about … NOW. This has significant ramifications for the Collector Car Marketplace.
This chart reworks some data that was first published on Hagerty Insider's Market Trends section in an article written by John Wiley published 31 December 2021 and entitled 2021 Year in Review: The collector car market got larger and younger in 2021 The two trend lines are crossing around about … NOW. This has significant ramifications for the Collector Car Marketplace.

The Amelia Island auctions have just concluded, and the Collector Car Auction Year is running at record pace, with spectacular results so far at Kissimmee, Scottsdale and Amelia Island, but the most optimistic sign for me occurred on 31 December 2021, in the form of a story that seemingly got little attention from other media – entitled “Year in Review: The collector car market got larger and younger in 2021” in Hagerty Market Trends.

For those not following closely, Hagerty has for the last decade become the leading specialty insurance provider for the American automotive enthusiast market, but things got ratcheted up a few orders of magnitude in December when the company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, turning the corner at the end of the year with a market cap of $4.63 billion and the finest database of actuarial-quality automotive intelligence in existence.

Hagerty looks already to be sharing some of its insights and the article by John Wiley contains some fascinating information. For example, go take a look at the chart entitled “The hottest area of the market is now for newer vehicles” – visualization junkies will meditate on that chart for hours at a time.

Insuring the specialist marketplace and combining all of that knowledge (like seeing the actual invoices of most of the sales of collectible vehicles in the United States, plus the person who purchased them, their age, bonafides, income, life stage, market segmentation, ad infinitum) with all the other available market information, gives Hagerty a dominant position to read the play going forward.

The most interesting chart in the information-dense article is entitled “Live versus online sales, by dollars.”

I was so entranced by that data that I broke it down into percentages and realized that just five years ago, as Scottsdale 2017 took place, the elite auction market was 96.7 percent live sales, and that as we leave Amelia Island in 2022, that number is now approximately 50 percent and quickly moving towards online domination of this marketplace. Live auctions are booming, but online sales more so ... and if you have very detailed photographs of a vehicle you are considering, it is relatively known commodity. Perhaps there's even room for validation services that will go and report on the vehicle for you to take a slice of the action - it certainly catalyzed a boom in the sports card and comics industry.

There was already a trend beginning before the pandemic, but just as other auction genres have been changed beyond recognition by the pandemic, so too will the collectible automobile marketplace, and 2022 is likely to deliver a lot more evidence of this.

It’s easy to brush over a headline that tells you something you already knew, which is perhaps why the Hagerty article hasn’t been making headlines in its own right, but while we’re looking at a marketplace in significant transition, it seems reasonable to expect that the move to online will accelerate as digital natives become more prevalent.

John Wiley reports Gen-X (currently aged 40 to 57 years) is just about to overtake the Baby Boomer generation (57 plus) as the most significant group of automotive investors, and that in 2021, 58 percent of quotes were from Gen-X and younger.

Tastes are hence just about to change more dramatically than we have ever seen. Some cars that were once fashionable and hence a good investment, will no longer retain their value. Others that have been promising collectibles, will begin appreciating like crazy … until the public’s tolerance for burning fossil fuels in the name of having fun, reaches a certain point … at which point, who knows?

2022 promises to be an interesting year, but taking into account all of the above, Japanese collector cars will appreciate much faster than cars of other nationalities, and newer cars of any hue will appreciate faster than the older classics.

Hence, we’re betting that a decade from now, perhaps a lot sooner, the Lexus LFA will make up the majority of the top 10.

Pete Brock: "Probably the best production car I have ever driven"

One of the factors that is often overlooked when it comes to the Toyota 2000 GT, is what a superb drivers car it is. If you have any doubt about this, watch this video created for the 2015 sale of a 2000GT by Keno Brothers Auctions. In it, legendary car designer Pete Brock talks about driving the Toyota 2000GT.

One of the most convincing testimonies as to the drivability of the 2000GT can be seen in the above video where car designer turned automotive journalist Pete Brock, discusses the car. Bear in mind that Brock had a three-car-deal pulled from him by Toyota when Carrol Shelby took the Toyota contract. Brock designed the Shelby components of the Shelby Mustang GT350s, he also designed the Shelby Daytona Cobra coupes that won the FIA GT World Championship in 1965 and as a young designer, he sketched out what was to become the Corvette Stingray. He really knows his stuff.

The History of the Toyota 2000GT

This two hour documentary was made in Japan - it is the most comprehensive compilation of information on the history of the Toyota 2000 GT available today. Via MaineLineexotics.com

The new Japanese price record-holder comes from the stable of MaineLine Exotics which owned the car for 42 years, restored several of the cars in this top ten, and has owned the Toyota 2000GT Convertible used in the movie You Only Live Twice for more than 30 years. It's for sale. Due to the remarkable influence this company has had on the fortunes of the 2000GT, when a major 2000GT documentary was created in Japan, MaineLine Exotics played a role, and it now streams the movie via Youtube, albeit with sub-titles.

Finally, here's the top 10 most valuable Japanese cars ever sold at auction.

10 | $968,000 | 1967 Toyota 2000GT

This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $968,000 at RM Sothebys in New York in 2013
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $968,000 at RM Sothebys in New York in 2013

RM-Sothebys | New York, NY | 21 November 2013
Official Auction Page & Hi-Res Images 
This very original Toyota 2000GT (MF10-10093) was sold at the first sale held jointly by RM Auctions and Sotheby’s (the precursor to the partnership) in November 2013, held in New York and aptly named The Art of the Automobile.

9 | $1,001,844 | 1968 Toyota 2000GT

This 1968 Toyota 2000GT sold for EUR €728,000 (USD $1,001,844) at RM Auctions (now RM Sothebys) in Monaco in 2014
This 1968 Toyota 2000GT sold for EUR €728,000 (USD $1,001,844) at RM Auctions (now RM Sothebys) in Monaco in 2014

RM-Sothebys | Monaco, 2014
Official Auction Page & Hi-Res Images 
When this 2000GT (MF10-10174) was sold in Monte Carlo by RM Auctions in May 2014, it had just been the recipient of an extensive restoration in which it was finished in a dark red, rather than the original Pegasus White. Like the vast majority of the 351 examples produced, it was produced in Right Hand Drive, for the local Japanese marketplace, where the model was far more popular than foreign markets. It was offered in Monaco fitted with chrome Borrani-style wire wheels.

8 | $1,045,000 | 1992 AAR/Toyota Eagle Mk III GTP

RACER: 1993 AAR Eagle MK III Helmet Cam with Charlie Nearburg

Gooding & Co | Pebble Beach, 2014
Official Auction Page & Hi-Res Images 
Going to auction from the collection of Juan Manuel Fangio II, this car was the most dominant prototype in US motorsport history, winning 14 times from 23 starts and giving Fangio the 1992 and 1993 IMSA GTP Championship. It also won the 12 Hours of Sebring Race in 1992 and 1993. The car was built by Dan Gurney's All American Racers and when it was retired, it was gifted to Fangio by Toyota. It runs a turbocharged 2.1 liter DOHC four with fuel injection and produced 700 hp in 1992, and 750 hp in 1993.

7 | $1,045,000 | 1967 Toyota 2000GT

This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,045,000 at RM Sotheby's during Monterey 2014
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,045,000 at RM Sotheby's during Monterey 2014

RM-Sothebys | Monterey, 2014
Official Auction Page & Hi-Res Images 
This Toyota 2000GT (MF10-10128) is among the most traveled non-racing cars in existence.

Even though the majority of right-hand-drive 2000GTs stayed in their home market of Japan, chassis MF10-10128, is one of two Toyota 2000GTs sold new to Mozambique. It was acquired and subsequently exported from Mozambique by a South African sports car enthusiast in the late 1970s.

In 1986, it was sold to 2000GT specialists Maine Line Exotics in Biddleford, Maine. Maine Line Exotics has at various times had the majority of the 2000GT population through its doors, has owned over 50 different specimens, and has been the long term owner of several of the GT2000s on this list, including the original first car GT2000 (MF10-10001) that was given to Carrol Shelby and is going to auction in Amelia Island at Gooding & Company.

In late 1986, the car was purchased by Javier Quiros, who was the Toyota importer for Costa Rica, the fourth oldest Toyota distributorship worldwide. Quiros took the car to Costa Rica, where it was driven extensively, plus used in vintage rallies.

In September 2013, a high-quality restoration began and the entire process is fully documented and part of the library of information which comes with the car.

Quiros had unparalleled access to Toyota in order to restore his car to precise factory standards, as he had been Akio Toyota’s roommate and close friend while both of them were earning MBAs at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts! Through Toyota, he was introduced to the late Hiromu Naruse, who was both the chief engineer and test driver for Toyota and played an integral part in developing not only the 2000GT but also the Toyota 7, Celica, and Supra and the Lexus LFA. From consulting with Naruse, Quiros was able to ascertain even the most minute details in order to restore this 2000GT as accurately as possible.

When it went to auction on 16 August 2014 at RM Sotheby's Monterey Sale, it fetched $1,045,000.

MF10-10128's history is fascinating for another reason and that's because it went to auction four more times before 12 November 2021, with each sale reflecting the ebbs and flows of a 2000GT market that overheats, pops, then moves back to its original quite healthy trajectory.

Following on from its $1.045 million sale in 2014, the car went to auction with Gooding & Company at Scottsdale in January 2016, with price guidance of $750,000 to $950,000, getting a high bid of just $620,000 and being passed in.

It then went to Monterey to the official Pebble Beach auction with Gooding & Co in August 2016, two years after fetching $1,045,000 in Monterey, selling for just $533,500.

Remarkably, it then went to auction for the third time in 2016 on Bring A Trailer, selling for $565,000 (including the flat $5,000 buyer's fee) on 19 December 2016. When it sold in December 2016, it had 76,822 km on the odometer, compared with 76,259 km at its sale for $1,045,000 in Monterey 29 months earlier.

Finally, with the market moving again in 2021, it sold for $880,015 on Bring a Trailer on 12 November 2021 with 77,873 kilometers on the dial.

Charity Auction | $1,100,000 | 2022 Acura NSX Type S

This 2022 Acura NSX Type S sold for $1,100,000 at a Mecum charity auction in Monterey in 2021

Mecum | Monterey, 2021
Official Auction Page & Hi-Res Images 

5 | $1,155,000 | 1967 Toyota 2000GT

This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,155,000 at RM Sotheby's in Fort Worth in 2013
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,155,000 at RM Sotheby's in Fort Worth in 2013

RM Sothebys | Fort Worth, 2013
Official Auction Page & Hi-Res Images 
This was the car that really set the 2000GT market on fire in 2013, when it sold for $1,155,000, an outright world record price for any Japanese car at that time.

It was originally sold in America as one of the 62 left-hand drive examples produced in Japan for the American market, sent back to Japan for a concours restoration several decades later, and then sold to an American who returned it to America. It was offered for sale on the American Concours Foundation at $375,000 in June 2010. Don Davis acquired the car and began an even more comprehensive restoration, which is detailed to some degree in the RM Sotheby's auction description for that sale.

5 | $1,155,000 | 1967 Toyota 2000GT

This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,155,000 at Gooding & Company's 2014 Pebble Beach auction
This 1967 Toyota 2000GT sold for $1,155,000 at Gooding & Company's 2014 Pebble Beach auction

Gooding & Co | Pebble Beach, 2014
Official Auction Page & Hi-Res Images 
This is the car that equaled (with the car above) the world-record price for any Japanese car when it fetched $1,155,000 at Pebble Beach in 2014 and like several of the cars in this top ten, its history reflects the changing fortunes of the Toyota 2000GT.

Toyota 2000GT (MF10-10088) was one of the 62 original left-hand-drive examples delivered new to the United States, where it sat for FIVE YEARS on the showroom floor of Don Placke Toyota of St. Louis, Missouri, with no-one prepared to pay the $7,150,000 asking price. In 1972, a dealership trade placed it with Competition Sports Cars of Lawrence, Kansas.

The dealer principal of Competition Sports Cars, Bill Spencer, regularly worked with Carrol Shelby and had heard tales of just how good the 2000GT was, so when he sold the company a year later, he kept the car for himself and his wife, Harriet, and they would tour and treasure the car for decades. Mrs. Spencer became the next owner of the car at her husband’s passing in 2001 and, six years later, commissioned a full refurbishing by Maine Line Exotics.

Maine Line Exotics is the foremost 2000GT specialist in the United States and more than half of the 2000GTs in the United States have been through its doors at one point or another. It was the vendor of the subject car of this article - the new record holder - and many of the best 2000GTs in the land have returned there many times. Indeed, this car is currently listed for purchase through the Maine Line Exotics web site. Shortly thereafter, it was sold to another prominent collector in the Pacific Northwest.

According to 2000GT.net, it was put up for sale in 2009 at a price of $450,000, then again in 2010 for $495,000, finally selling on eBay for $650,000 in 2011. (Sorry - no links)

Someone must have been delighted with their good fortune when the car purchased for $650K on 17 April 2011 sold with Gooding & Co at Pebble Beach for nearly twice that amount on 16 August 2014. Someone else must have been equally disenchanted just 20 months later when the car sold for $795,000 at RM Sotheby's Amelia Island sale on 12 March 2016.

RM Sotheby's auction description from that sale reads thus: The car is widely considered among the most authentic and correct 2000GTs on American shores. In previous ownership, Maine Line Exotics rebuilt the car’s engine and suspension and installed a new, correct exhaust system in stainless steel. Weber carburetors were installed under the hood, with the correct Solex units being retained and offered with the car today. The cosmetics were also attended to, with fresh paint and chrome, and the interior was fully and properly replaced, including the leather and carpeting, which are fresh and beautiful; the rosewood veneer dashboard shows some wear but should, as it is the original made in 1967! The wheels have the correct graphite finish as well, and the engine bay has been beautifully detailed. At the time of cataloguing, the car showed 46,859 miles, indicative of careful use by its handful of respectful owners. It is accompanied by a selection of original manuals, catalogues, and brochures.

The tale doesn't end there, because in 2017, it was sold through Art & Revs for an undisclosed price.

Charity Auction | $1,200,000 | 2017 Acura NSX

This 2017 Acura NSX Vin #001 sold for $1,200,000 at a Barrett-Jackson charity auction in Scottsdale in 2016

Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, 2016
Official Auction Page & Hi-Res Images 
When the second-generation Acura NSX supercar was ready to hit the market, Acura auctioned off VIN #001 to the benefit of charity. The winner of the auction, Rick Hendrick of Hendricks Motorsports was able to customize the NSX before delivery as part of the prize..

4 | $1,600,000 | 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring

This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021. This was the scene during one of the preview sessions, where the stars of the show were wheeled onto the forecourt of the Monterey Conference Center. The Lexus LFA is in the middle of the three rows, one back from the front.
This 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring sold for $1,600,000 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey in 2021. This was the scene during one of the preview sessions, where the stars of the show were wheeled onto the forecourt of the Monterey Conference Center. The Lexus LFA is in the middle of the three rows, one back from the front.

RM Sothebys | Monterey, 2021
Official Auction Page & Hi-Res Images 
The Lexus LFA was a vastly under-appreciated car, something that's easy to do when it comes from a country that had produced so few genuine supercars previously. The engine was developed in conjunction with Yamaha in order to take advantage of its expertise in small lightweight and powerful motorcycle engines, and it is an engineering masterpiece, being a 4.8 liter, 4-valve DOHC V10 utilizing lots of aluminum, magnesium and titanium alloy to be smaller and lighter than most V8s. The exhaust system in particular was developed in conjunction with Yamaha's music division, which accounts for the awesome sound it generates – it is one of the best sounding cars you will ever hear.

Only 500 were built, and a lot of time was spent making sure that the car would be ideally suited to the fabled Nürburgring Nordschleife racetrack in Germany. When they'd done all their homework, they attacked the production lap record there and came up with 7:14.64 in 2011 – it was an unofficial record for a production car on non-competition tires, but it was enough to convince the public that the LFA was a genuine sports car (you cannot fake a fast time around "the Green Hell") and a perfect excuse to create a "hero car" in even more limited numbers.

Just 50 units were sold with the Nürburgring Package and starting from the $465,000 price tag, they have been climbing in value for several years. In the collectible car arena, there's an ideal number to build to ensure they come around regularly at auction, but they're scarce enough to ensure continual price growth. Going by the world's most valuable cars around 30-50 units looks about perfect in achieving that delicate balance of supply and demand.

Despite the very un-Japanese sticker price, the rumor persists that Lexus subsidized the price to keep it affordable.

In 2018 and 2019, the price at auction began to finally move towards the inevitable. In 2018, two sold for $825,000 and $770,000 respectively, and in 2019 three sold ($885,000, $912,500 and $918,500). You don't need to be a Rhodes Scholar to join those dots!

No LFA Nürburgring went to auction in 2020, and a lot of eyes were on the black LFA that went to auction during Monterey Car Week with 930 miles on the odometer. In the end, bidding breezed past the million dollar mark and set a new marque record of $1.6 million. Perhaps even more telling than the $1,600,000 sale figure for the Fox Collection Lexus LFA Nürburgring were the prices fetched by standard LFA models that went to auction in 2021.

RM-Sotheby’s sold a standard LFA on the same bill in Monterey for $819,000, bettering another LFA it sold earlier in the year at Amelia Island for $720,000, and a model with 6000 kilometers on the clock for CHF 540,000 ($579,312) in Switzerland.

Several other LFA base models went to auction during 2021, with Bring a Trailer selling a Yellow LFA for $808,000 in July, Collecting Cars Online selling a white LFA for $781,800 on August 13, and Bring a Trailer sold a black LFA for $725,000 in October. Two other LFAs that went to auction during the year received bids of $695,000 and $718,888 respectively but neither were accepted. Those numbers also support the premise that the standard LFA will be a million-dollar car before long too.

Given what we've witnessed over the last few years, we expect the LFA with Nürburgring Package to dominate this top ten within a few years, and the most blatant sign of this growing rate of appreciation is this car. It sold for $1.6 million in Monterey but it had been to auction before, selling for $918,500 at Barrett-Jackson's Scottsdale auction in 2019. Exactly the same car with an extra 41 miles on the clock sold for $681,500 more, just over two and a half years later. Join the dots!

3 | $1,715,745 | 1990 Nissan R90CK

Amazing Onboard - Nissan R90CK 'Le Mans Pole Car' running at Goodwood (driven by Max Chilton)

BH Auction | Tokyo, 2018
Official Auction Page & Hi-Res Images
Though the Nissan R90CK results were largely unchequered, it was nonetheless, one of the fastest race cars in history, thanks to a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V8 pumping out over 588kW (800PS) at 7,600rpm.

The R90CK is renowned globally by racing drivers and fans alike for its qualifying lap at the 1990 Le Mans 24 Hour Race where it qualified for pole a whopping six seconds faster than the second-placed Porsche 962, all thanks to a broken turbocharger wastegate. A turbo wastegate regulates the induction pressure of the fuel-air mix and when it failed to discharge the pressure at the factory settings, the brutal 800 horsepower engine output skyrocketed well past 1000 hp during Mark Blundell's qualifying lap. By comparison, the other Nissan R90CKs qualified 4th and 5th, 6.26 seconds and 8.74 seconds behind Blundell respectively. This podcast has Blundell speaking about his qualifying experience in the car with the stuck wastegate. Worth a listen

2 | $1,750,000 | 1989 Mazda 767B

Mazda 767B screaming 4 rotor at Spa Classic 2014 (incl. idle + revving)

Gooding & Co | Amelia Island, 2017
Official Auction Page & Hi-Res Images 
In March 2017, this rotary-engined 1989 Mazda 767B race car became the most expensive Japanese car that wasn't auctioned to the benefit of charity. This example, chassis 003, is one of three cars built for the 1989 season. Driven by Yojiro Terada, Marc Duez, and Volker Weidler, it placed third in the GTP class and 12th overall at the 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans. In the 1989 Fuji 1000 Km, it placed 11th overall and second in the GTP class. In the 1990 24 Hours of Le Mans, it finished 20th overall and first in the IMSA GTP class. In the 1990 Fuji 1000 Km, it placed sixth overall and won the GTP class. Fully restored to its 1990 specification, the 767B embodies all that was so exciting and compelling about prototype racing in the 1980s.

Charity Auction | $2,000,000 | 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible VIN 100001

The First Production 2021 Lexus LC Convertible | Lexus

Charity Auction
Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, 2020
Official Auction Page & Hi-Res Images 
This is the first 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible. The car is one of 100 cars customized to be part of the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible Inspiration Series, with special paint, wheels and other component highlights, though the performance will be the same as other 471-hp LC 500s with a Direct-Shift 10-speed automatic transmission. The big difference is that this car bears VIN 100001, and carbon-fiber scuff plates imprinted with “LC Inspiration Series Launch Exclusive 1 of 1.”

Charity Auction | $2,100,000 | 2020 Toyota Supra

First 2020 Toyota Supra Sold For $2.1 Million at Barrett Jackson

Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, 2019
Official Auction Page & Hi-Res Images 
One of Japan's most loved and collectible cars at the beginning of its life, the Toyota Supra's second coming was an opportunity that wasn't missed by Toyota, and the pent up demand for the Supra resulted in the most expensive Japanese car ever sold at auction. Barrett-Jackson pioneered the sale of VIN #001 cars for charity 15 years ago and extracts additional value from these cars, waives its auction fees and charity is the beneficiary. Barrett-Jackson has now facilitated more than $100 million going to charity, which is most admirable and entirely representative of the spirit of the automotive community.

1 | $2,535,000 | 2020 Toyota-Shelby 2000GT

This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022
This 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT became the most expensive Japanese car in history when it sold for USD $2,535,000 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction on 4 March 2022

Gooding & Company | Amelia Island, 2022
Official Auction Page & Hi-Res Images

The Gooding & Company auction description for this award-winning specimen reads thus: The 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000GT presented here, chassis MF10-10001, is the very first serial-numbered example built, and the first of just three cars that Shelby prepared for SCCA C-Production racing, Toyota’s first foray into American motor sports. Originally finished in Solar Red and configured in right-hand drive, MF10-10001 is one of the original show cars used by Toyota Motor Sales USA to introduce and promote the 2000GT publicly. After its promotional duties, Carroll Shelby persuaded Toyota executives to work with his team, and both Shelby and Toyota engineers went to work fitting this example with mechanical and aesthetic modifications to prepare it for SCCA racing.

MF10-10001 enjoyed a brief racing career, after which it went on to join several key collections. In 1980, the consignor, a gentleman widely regarded as the foremost 2000GT specialist, acquired this example, and spent the next decade performing a complete body-off restoration in his workshop with the goal of returning this significant car to its original splendor. Years of research and meticulous preparation culminated in the Toyota being faithfully restored to its original 1968 SCCA configuration, including its unique Shelby mechanical components and historic white and metallic blue racing livery. Following its restoration, MF10-10001 was exhibited at a number of key events, including the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, where it won First in Class.

Given its unique status as the first serial-numbered 2000GT ever built, and its important role in the Carroll Shelby-run SCCA racing program, MF10-10001 is surely among the most significant Toyotas ever built, and arguably, one of the most influential Japanese automobiles of all time. Coming from single ownership since 1980, and never before offered for public sale, this 2000GT is a truly remarkable machine worthy of only the finest collections.

In Closing

There are several ways in which a dedicated enthusiast can still lay their hands on a Toyota 2000GT, and bidding for one at public auction is probably not the best way right now - prices are likely to be ever higher at auction for the forseeable future. Our best advice would be to go to Maine Line Exotics and register your interest, as they have the inside running on most cars in the American marketplace.

There is ALWAYS a better way

Rocky builds not just modernised Toyota 2000GT replicas with a 3000cc engine, but you can specify a Bond car replica like the one in this video.

There is always a better way, and if you wish to be able to drive your Toyota 2000GT rather than look at it, perhaps you might consider a replica. Rocky's is a Japanese specialist builder of replica Japanese performance classics and it has been building the 3000GT for many years now, and every part of the chassis and body are incredibly authentic, replicating the driving experience with a more powerful 3.0 liter 2JZ motor, modern seats, modern drivetrain, modern electrics ... and you can order it with any powertrain you wish, from a turbocharged monster, through to a Prius hybrid.

What's more, the cost of purchasing one of these hand built replicas is around ten percent of the price of the new record holder. Depending on how you specify your new toy, you can get away for less than USD$250,000.

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