My Car Quest

November 22, 2017

Why Did This Toyoto Sell For More Than $1 Million?

by Mike –

A 1967 Toyota 2000GT just sold for $1,155,000 at the RM auction of the Don Davis Collection this past April 27 in Texas. Let that sink in a little – a Toyota sells for more than $1 million!

Toyota 2000GT

Toyota 2000GT

I am more than a little surprised at this price. I suspect this car is in outstanding condition because I read about most of the Don Davis cars on offer at this RM auction and Mr. Davis has excellent taste in cars, his cars seem to have been well cared for and when they were restored, as this Toyota was, they were done right.

Toyota 2000GT

Toyota 2000GT

But still it is a Toyota – not a Mercedes 300SL, not a Ferrari 275 GTB, not an Iso Grifo and not a Bizzarrini GT 5300.

Here is what RM said about this Toyota,

* 150 bhp, 2,000 cc Yamaha DOHC hemi-head inline six-cylinder engine, 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.

* “Toyota’s E-Type,” the greatest Japanese car of all time

* One of only 351 built

* Original left-hand drive U.S.-delivery example

* Beautifully restored, with great attention to authenticity and detail

* Among the very best in the world

Classic Car values are difficult to predict but there are characteristics that make certain cars more valuable than others (not in any particular order):

* The history of the marque

* Racing heritage

* Styling

* Technology and performance

* The people involved in creating the car

* The number built

* The specific car’s ownership history and condition

* Value can also be driven by something else that cannot be explained

Let’s compare the Toyota 2000GT to a car near and dear to me, the Bizzarrini GT 5300

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

In the interest of full disclosure I own the 1966 Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada pictured here.

The history of the marque

– Toyota is a mass market commodity car maker and Giotto Bizzarrini was a Ferrari experienced race car engineer who designed and built winning Ferrari race cars and under his own brand built a Le Mans winning race car and many street legal race cars.

Racing heritage

– as mentioned above a Bizzarrini GT 5300 won it’s class at Le Mans in 1965 – I am not aware of any significant race results for the Toyota 2000GT.

Styling

– while the Toyota is attractive the Giugiaro styled Bizzarrini is stunning.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

Technology and performance

– the Toyota is a Yamaha engineered and manufactured car with moderate power and speed. The Bizzarrini was engineered and styled by the top Italian car people of the 1960s and powered by one of the best engines of the time – the Corvette 327 cid V8. It was one of the fastest cars available in the 1960s.

The people involved in creating the car

– see above.

The number built

– 351 for the Toyota 2000GT and 115 for the Bizzarrini GT 5300 making the Bizzarrini much more rare.

The specific car’s ownership history and condition

– this does not apply to this analysis.

Value can also be driven by something else that cannot be explained

– this must have something to do with this $1.155 million Toyota – an unexplained something. Or is it an indication of the overall classic car market value trend?

Let us know what you think about the new value level set for the Toyota 2000GT.

My thanks to Bruce Caron for suggesting this Toyota 2000GT as a subject for My Car Quest.

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Bizzarrini GT 5300 and Toyota 2000GT

Comments

  1. roger ramjet says:

    Mike,

    Great analysis! And many of us will agree with you. However, with all respect, I think you are using the wrong side of your brain in this discussion.
    You are the one who remind us that cars are rolling pieces of ART. And since when are art collectors or want to be collectors RATIONAL? Rationality is the anthesis of an avid art collector. True collectors collect and pay for whatever they like and can afford. For them a “collector” that is worried about a piece’s rationality or buys some object thinking about what he/she will be able to sell it for is not a true art collector but is an “investor”. For those in the rarified air of academia or unlimited budgets those “rationalist” are acting very middle class…indeed! The middle class I’m describing is a state of mind, more than an economic prowess , although most of the time it goes together.
    I, who consider myself solidly in a middle class state of mind, would like to add to your analysis of a cars “worth”, the following criteria:

    How does it drive
    How much will it cost me to maintain it
    Where will I store it
    What else can I buy with the $$
    Will my heirs be able to liquidate
    Indeed, how liquid will this asset be
    Will the price keep me for using the car for what it was designed for

    Do you see how ridiculous my above criteria would sound to a true ART collector?

    Let’s remember “what someone is willing to pay for does not, necessarily, set the price”

  2. ScuderiaPacNW says:

    Just a guess here, but perhaps the Japanese/Asian collector/investor car market would pay a large premium to purchase one of “their own” unique rarities. After all, when compared to the relatively vast number of European selections, there are not that many pure-bred Asian built world-class vintage collector car models available in the marketplace. Just like Italian cars get our passionate attention, I can see a wealthy Japanese collector getting really excited about this particular car.

  3. Grifo4me says:

    A few reasons why it is where it is. The Toyota did race and it raced in a big way. Carroll Shelby was given a $500,000 budget to field the 2000GT in production sports car racing, the class was the 1968 season of SCCA C/Production. Shelby accepted because he owned a Toyota dealership and new racing would sell cars! Shelby battled Porsche, but Porsche won the season.

    Ever since Shelby’s involvement the Toyota 2000 was the small bore super car that collectors wanted, very similar to the Alfa GTZ’s. It always demanded a good price. Now it demands a great price!!!

    Second the Toyota 2000 was in a real James Bond Movie, not only that, it was a great Bond movie “you only live twice”.

    nuf said.

  4. jmswhidbey says:

    Lets face it the Toyota 2000GT is not only iconic it is the Holy Grail for Japanese sports car collectors. The cars do drive very well and are the stuff of dreams. So in this crazy world of car collecting with many of Europe’s finest bringing truly silly money from folks who can well afford the cars, is it really a surprise that these cars are clearly on the wealthy collectors radar screen. As has been pointed out about this car in particular is it was meticulously restored and one of the best examples of the marque in the world. I seriously doubt the person purchasing the car feels poorer from the buying event. They got a superb car from a fairly famous collection and will presumably have some fun driving and enjoying bragging rights of ownership. Pretty good bet they have helped the cars establish a new market value in the process. So this winds up being a win on many levels. Good news is for cars lower in the food chain, people will likely feel that they are more worthy of attention and proper restorations as a result of the meteoric rise in prices on what would have been considered lesser cars.

  5. aj250gto says:

    Christian Chia who owns the Open Road Auto Group here in Vancouver has a Red left hand drive 2000. The Toyoto 2000 deserves its place in automotive history.

  6. jmswhidbey says:

    @ aj250GTO completely agree with you these cars do deserve a solid respectful place in history, it was a serious step on Toyota’s part building the cars as a serious image builder.

  7. Seanglenn says:

    Dear Mike,
    Although I always considered myself a car guy, until I discovered My Car Quest, I had actually never heard of the Bizzarrini, and the only Iso I was aware of was the Isetta. So, to say the least, at age 50, this supposed car guy got a huge education from you without paying any tuition, and for that I will always be grateful to you. In this regard, I am probably not alone – there are probably many who were ignorant like me – and although the Toyota 2000GT, might not be considered as rare or desirable a car as a Bizzarrini or a Ferrari, there is a certain aura, legend, and provenance that this car has in the mind of many that is HUGE! Being the first true Japanese sports car, having appeared in the James Bond film “You Only Live Twice” (although in a chopped-top version never put into production so that Sean Connery could fit into it), and the fact that it looks like a Japanese baby Ferrari Daytona, have all added to its allure and desirablity. Although this price IS outrageous, you know what the rich people say if they want something – “Money is no object.” So, some rich person was able to get one of the cars of their dreams. So, don’t be upset or try to overanalyze it, it just is what it is! Glenn in the Bronx, NY

  8. Thank you all for your intelligent Comments. I am planning a Post in the next 2-3 days to address this subject.

    If anyone else has additional Comments on the $1.2 million Toyota now is the time to send them in.

  9. georgeg20 says:

    Wow, Mike! Looks like you’ve been outnumbered. I’m in the minority to say that there’s really nothing that warrants $1 million paid for this car. True its a great restoration on a significant model from a world wide manufacturer but it IMO it does not fall into the same category as the Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, etc. I’m not sure if this is a market setter. What’s next, a $500k 240Z?

    BTW, in January this year a 1982 Alfa Romeo Spider sold for $22k. The condition this car at the time of the sale place it at common market value of maximum $10k. But someone has been reading NADA guides rather than doing proper research. It did send the prices of the Series 2 Spiders upward for like a day or so. However, common sense prevailed and the later S2 and S2a Spiders are right around $6k for a very nice example

  10. I just read this as well as your follow up article with the responses to some of the comments above. Here are just a few observations:

    1) I didn’t know about the Bizzarrini’s appearance in Bullitt. Thanks for that.

    2) The 2000 GT is strikingly beautiful. I know that’s subjective, but subjective is usually where the big money is. Long before anyone considered the possibility of a Japanese car being collectible or a classic, the 2000 GT already was and had a matching price. I’m pretty sure they were already going for more than $100,000 about a decade ago when a Ferrari Daytona could be bought for about $140,000.

    3) Just about six months ago, I saw a pale yellow 2000 GT like the one pictured above driving on a local street some ten minutes from home. I suspect it belongs to a Toyota dealer in my area, Craig Zinn, who owns the largest collection of 2000 GT’s. I think he has a baker’s dozen. The only other 2000 GT I ever saw was also driving on the street and was red, but it was at least 15-20 years ago.

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