The first Toyota was imported to the United States in 1957. For the next 30 years, the car company was known for making small, inexpensive cars of little quality.
But that was in the U.S. In Japan, the company worked to establish itself as a high-quality manufacturer capable of making powerful, performance-minded vehicles. Take the Toyota 2000GT, a limited-production, front-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-seat hardtop coupe. There were only 351 cars built from 1967 and 1970.
The 2000GT helped revolutionize the automotive world's view of Japan. The 2000GT demonstrated that Japanese auto manufacturers could produce a sports car to rival those of Europe. The 150 bhp, 2,000 cc Yamaha DOHC hemi-head inline six-cylinder engine, had three twin-choke side-draft carburetors, five-speed fully synchromesh manual transmission with overdrive, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel power-assisted Dunlop disc brakes. It is perhaps considered one of the greatest Japanese cars of all time.
Today, the 2000GT is seen as the first seriously collectible Japanese car, with a 2000GT recently selling through RM Auctions for over $1 million.
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Images via RM Auctions