My Car Quest

September 26, 2021

The $1.2 Million Toyota Discussion – Contunued

by Mike –

The recent Post about the Toyoto that sold for more than $1 million really created some controversy. I did not realize this was such a sensitive topic or I would have written about it sooner.

I think I have been misunderstood, a common problem with me. I was not arguing that the Toyota is not a worthy car, I was arguing that a Bizzarrini GT 5300 should be valued more than a Toyota 2000GT.

Toyota 2000GT

There it is – my conclusion at the beginning of the Post – so if you agree then there is no need to read any further. If you don’t agree then read on.

Responding to all of the Comments became a bigger task than could be contained in the Comments section so I decided to respond to Comments in a new Post. Below are the Comments followed by my responses.

Comment by roger ramjet,

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 antithesis 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 rarefied 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”

I agree with some of the new items you added to my list but not all. Let’s think about the art analogy – there are artists today who can paint a van Gogh painting just as good as van Gogh did. But if the painting has van Gogh’s real signature on it then it is worth tens of millions of dollars. The talented copycat’s art is worth the cost of the canvas and the paint, maybe. I don’t want to go too far with this analogy but a car made by Bizzarrini and Giugiaro is more valuable than the same car made by someone we don’t know.

People in the art world pay a lot of money for the signature at the bottom of the painting and people in the collector car world pay a lot for certain badges. Consider the Fiat Dino Spider and the Ferrari Dino 246 GTS.

Toyota 2000GT

Comment by ScuderiaPacNW

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.

I agree completely and maybe that is what happened here. The vast majority of the Toyota 2000GTs were RHD so a Japanese collector would likely prefer one of those but maybe the condition of this example trumped the steering wheel location.

Toyota 2000GT

Comment by Grifo4me

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.

Yep, you are correct – I should have read my previous Post on the Toyota 2000GT. However, the Bizzarrini GT 5300 was in the opening scene of the Steve McQueen hit Bullitt!

Look closely in the photo below – on the right is a green Bizzarrini!

Bizzarrini GT 5300 in Bullitt

Comment by jmswhidbey

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.

I agree with everything you say and I expect we will see a few 2000GTs for sale over the coming year.

Toyota 2000GT

Comment by aj250gto

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.

It does indeed after all it has been in a James Bond movie and Carroll Shelby raced them – that sets it on a course to fame and glory. Now if only we could find a Steve McQueen connection then they would really take off.

Comment by jmswhidbey

@ 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.

Agreed, it is always good when a car manufacturer decides to build a really cool car instead of another mini-van.

Toyota 2000GT

Comment by Seanglenn

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 desirability. 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 over analyze it, it just is what it is! Glenn in the Bronx, NY

You started off great then you drifted off subject – that’s OK. Share this “huge education from you without paying any tuition” idea with all of your friends.

If I don’t over analyze things then we wouldn’t have all this great stuff to talk about!

Comment by georgeg20

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 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.

In your list of “it does not fall into the same category as the Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, etc.” – I am sure it was a typo that you left off Bizzarrini GT 5300 and Iso Grifo.

Toyota 2000GT

All photos by Bruce Caron from a recent Cars & Coffee in Irvine, California.

Only in Southern California would you see a million dollar car in a parking lot at a Cars & Coffee – it is possible that the owner did not know this was a $1 million car, after all this is a new thing. Toyota owners are going to have to get used to the idea of $1 million Toyotas!

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Comments

  1. I’m with you, Mike – it makes no real sense to me either. I’ve always admired the Toyota 2000GT – it’s a pretty shape, somewhat spoiled by over-fussy decoration, typical of Japanese styling of the time. I believe they drive nicely too, though they are in no way a ‘supercar’.
    But, I guess they are worth what people are prepared to pay…

  2. Grifo4me says

    Mike the bullitt cameo is hardly a comparison to any of the Bond cars. Bond cars are given full screen appearances and interaction with 007, In Bullitt it’s a 2 second pan in a underground parking lot,

    As for cars being “art” I have never bought into this. Cars are industrial design just like camera’s, furniture, toasters…. none of these are art. Pinnin Farina , Gandini, Giugiaro were all great designers, but not artists . People toss the term around a bit to loosely IMO maybe thats a good topic for another day.

    • georgeg20 says

      Wow, I respect your opinion but would like to express mine as well. Pretty much everything around us is created by human beings just like art. And just like art, cars are perceived through our ’emotional lens’. After all, no one really NEEDS a Jaguar or an Iso or a Bizzarrini… just like no one NEEDS to have Kandinski or Van Gough. And yet we look at these beautiful creations and try to get our hands on them as soon as we can afford it (you can guess which ‘works of art I’m talking about – either way the assumption will be correct). Just like ancient Chinese vases and masks of Pharohs we like to display them for all public to see… There are so many parallels that can be drawn… Giugiaro, et. al. should be considered artists in the truest sense of the word for would it not be for their creative talents, many of the cars we talk about would not exist to excite us. This is my opinion.

  3. joedixon says

    Any object, art, toaster, car, is worth what someone will pay, no more. Relating the value to the merits of any of them is folly.

    The Ferrari Daytona and the Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing were significant in their own way, built in similar numbers and the subject of great loyalty, yet the Daytona trades for roughly half of a 300SL. 190SL’s trade well into 6 figures with no racing heritage to speak of and no real rarity. The ISO Rivolta GT has the exact pedigree of the ISO Grifo at basically 1/4 the price.

    Somebody had the wherewithal to pay 7 figures for a 2000GT, felt he needed to and did it, good for him. While there can be debate about the importance of the car, there is absolutely none about the value. It’s the one fact in the equation. Its value tomorrow? We will see.

    The more I learn in the hobby, the less I try to relate importance to price. I like what I like for reasons I can articulate but don’t expect agreement.

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