The 1967 Toyota 2000GT prepared by Carroll Shelby at auction

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Carroll Shelby’s touch still lingers to honor the fate of vintage racer auctions rarely mentioned in conjunction with his name. Last August, RM Sotheby’s offered a Ruddspeed Ace, the English roadster that served as the archetype for the Shelby’s Cobra. Next month at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Gooding & Co will be selling a 1967 Toyota 2000GT, chassis number MF10-100001. It was the first production model with a serial number to leave Toyota’s lineup in Japan, destined for Carroll Shelby’s California workshop for development to compete in the 1968 SCCA Championship in the C/Production class for imports. Toyota was making a name for itself on dealer lots with economy cars, but wanted to win Sunday against rivals like Alfa Romeo, Datsun, Lotus, Nissan, Porsche and Triumph.

It’s one of three cars the Shelby development team has prepared for the series, helping to spend the $500,000 Toyota has invested in the racing program. Driver Davey Jordan rode MF10-100001 to fourth place in the championship that year, with teammate Scooter Patrick finishing third behind the two Porsche 911s run by the Vasek Polak dealership team. This would generally be considered an outstanding result for an all-new car’s debut campaign in an automaker’s debut effort in a country’s domestic series. But Toyota didn’t want the exceptional, it wanted the gold cup. Retail customer 2000GTs cost $7,150, about $2,000 more than a Porsche 911 or Jaguar XKE at the time, or nearly $3,000 more than a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette. of the Toyota’s sales has probably already been helped by fantastic reviews and its appearance in the 1967 James Bond film”you only live twice“, but would probably have been helped even more by the headlines about beating the Porsches. Jordan later said, “Toyota lost a bit of face and halted their racing efforts. He wasn’t at all question of racing (in 1969) Toyota left the series at the end of 1968 and ceased production of the 2000GT in 1970 after 351 were built.

Gooding & Co says this example has been in the same family since 1980, making appearances at shows like Monterey Historics and the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Currently, a Le Mans class-winning four-rotor 1989 Mazda 767B holds the record for the most expensive Japanese car sold at auction at $1.75 million. The auction house has yet to provide a pre-sale estimate for the 2000GT, but it is the same car owned by Maine Line Exotics’ Bob Tkacik and Peter Star, which went up for sale in 2012 for 1, $7 million but getting no takers, apparently. It’s not outrageous to think they could get that amount and then some in today’s market, with a regular 2000 GT selling for just over $900,000 at an auction in 2020.

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