The beautiful Toyota 2000GT of the Nineteen Sixties is as central to Japanese sport automotive historical past because the Shelby Cobra is to America’s. Now think about the 2 teaming as much as tackle the perfect from Porsche and Lotus.

That’s precisely what occurred when Toyota determined success in SCCA (Sports activities Automobile Membership of America) competitors was what it wanted to make a reputation for itself with North American automotive consumers. And certainly one of simply three Shelby-Toyota 2000GTs constructed for the 1968 season is on the brink of cross the public sale block at >Gooding & Firm’s Amelia Island sale on March 4.

The 2000GT had already proved its mettle in competitors in Japan earlier than Shelby acquired his palms on it. On its first outing in 1966 on the prestigious Japanese Grand Prix, which, regardless of its title, was really a race for closed-wheel automobiles, a 2000GT positioned third. That was adopted by a one-two on the Suzuka 1000km a month later, and a bunch of different victories in the course of the 1967 season.

In keeping with Toyota, Pete Brock, the designer of the fastback Daytona Cobra, was initially approached to prep the 2000GT for SCCA warfare within the C-Manufacturing class, however a final minute deal noticed his previous boss Shelby take the reins, whereas Brock went on to strike up a massively profitable partnership with Datsun with automobiles just like the 510 sedan and 240Z.

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Shelby stripped the GT’s soundproofing and insulation, added broad, low-profile racing rubber wrapped round magnesium wheels and upgraded the suspension with new anti-roll bars and Koni springs and shocks. The 2.0-liter straight-six engine obtained a gentle makeover too, pushing energy from 148 hp (150 PS) to round 200.

Contemplating 1968 was the workforce’s first season it didn’t fare too badly, although it wasn’t capable of topple the extra established Porsches. And sadly Toyota pulled the plug on the challenge on the finish of that yr, which means we’ll by no means know what might have occurred in 1969.

The automotive supplied on the market is claimed to to be the first 2000GT ever built, and since 1980 it’s been within the palms of the identical proprietor who’s in line for an enormous payday. Gooding hasn’t put an estimate on the automotive, but it surely’s acquired to be the perfect a part of $1 million, presumably extra, hasn’t it?

H/T to Road & Track

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